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  • Pool A

    Korea shuts out Chinese Taipei
    By Jim Street / MLB.com


    • Korea-Chinese Taipei box
    http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/...orint_tpeint_1


    TOKYO -- A game Korea knew it probably had to win to advance past the first round of the inaugural World Baseball Classic, fell into place Thursday night in a classic opener at Tokyo Dome.

    It seemed fitting that a terrific defensive play would end a superbly played game that had historical significance -- it's the first time active Major League players have participated in an event like this.

    The final out in Korea's 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei before 5,193 came when shortstop Jin Man Park dove to his left to stab a grounder hit up the middle, turning it into a forceout at second base instead of it being a run-scoring single to center field.

    There were good defensive plays from both teams, a little surprising considering how little time the teams have been preparing for this inaugural tournament.

    With so much riding on the Classic opener, Korea manager In Sik Kim rode the arms of four of his Major League pitchers to get the three-week tournament off to a successful start.

    Right-hander Jae Weong Seo (Dodgers), Byung Hyun Kim (Rockies) Dae Sung Koo (Mets) and Chan Ho Park (Padres) combined on the shutout, holding Chinese Taipei on four singles and a double.

    Park picked up the save, thanks in large part to the Park that could be seen over Chan Ho's right shoulder.

    "This was a significant game for us so I was going to use them against Taipei," Kim said of four of his horses from the big leagues. "The plan I had coming in was to pitch two or three Major Leaguers in each game."

    The opener was huge for both teams because it probably will take two wins to advance to the second round. With Japan considered a shoo-in, Korea conceivably can virtually clinch a trip to Anaheim next week with a victory Friday over heavy-underdog China.

    But to get that second win, Korea might have to do it without third baseman Dong Joo Kim.

    Dong Joo, a .302 hitter last season for the Doosan Bears, injured his left shoulder while diving into first base with an infield single in the sixth inning, left the game and went to a local hospital for X-rays. There was no immediate report on the seriousness of the injury.

    "He is one of the most important players on the team," Kim said. "He's in the heart of our batting order (cleanup). He is so motivated that he slid into first base headfirst. We hope it is not serious.

    "If we have to play without him, it would be a big loss for us."

    One of the most talked-about rules being used in the 16-team tournament came to the forefront early.

    Pitchers are limited to 65 pitches in the first round and Chinese Taipei right-hander En-Yu Lin had a shutout in the works after 64 pitches.

    But his final delivery resulted in the game's first run being scored.

    It came with two outs in the fourth inning. With a runner on second base and a 2-and-2 count, catcher Sung Heon Hong pulled a grounder past third base for a double, scoring Seung Yeop Lee from second base.

    En-Yu could kick himself for surrendering a final-pitch hit, but it was his leadoff walk to Seung Yeop that hurt just as much.

    He said the 65-pitch limit didn't really enter his mind.

    "I was trying to get the (final) out," he said.

    An infield out advanced Seung Yeop to second base and, one out later, he became a footnote in history -- the first player to score a run in the World Baseball Classic.

    Korea tacked on its second run in the fifth inning on a leadoff single by Jin Man Park, sacrifice bunt and center fielder Jong Beom Lee's double off the wall in left field with two outs.

    Sensing the important of the Classic opener, Korea played for a run in the first inning as soon as leadoff hitter Byung Kyu Lee reached on second baseman Sen Yang's error -- the only miscue in the well-played game.

    Jong Beom sacrificed Byung Kyu to second. But the run Korea wanted never materialized as En-Yu struck out Seung Yeop Lee and Dong Joo back-to-back.

    Chinese Taipei threatened in the second inning, putting runners on first and second with one out on a single to left field by Tai-Shan Chang and walk to Chio-Hsien Hsieh. An infield out moved both runners into scoring position before Seo induced Chun-Chang Yeh to ground out to second base.

    "We didn't have many hits today, but we had chances to score," manager Hua Wei Lin said. "Their Major League pitchers are very good."

    Both teams return to action Friday with Korea facing China in the first game and Chinese Taipei playing Japan in the nightcap.

    It could be difficult for either Korea or Chinese Taipei to match the defensive work in their Classic opener.

    Before getting hurt, Dong Joo Kim made a sparking snag to rob Chien-Ming Chang of a hit in the first inning; Korea right fielder Jin Young Lee ended the Chinese Taipei third inning with a stellar catch in foul territory; Chinese Taipei third baseman Yung Chi Chen stole a hit from Sung Heon Hong in the ninth inning.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Japan shows no mercy
    By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com


    • Box score
    http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/...pnint_chnint_1


    TOKYO -- China wasn't the pushover Team Japan may have expected, but the Japanese got the rout they were looking for eventually.

    Still looking for the offensive explosion it lacked through its World Baseball Classic exhibition run, Japan finally found some power, smacking three home runs in its 18-2 win over China, which ended because of mercy rule after eight innings Friday at Tokyo Dome.

    Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a three-run homer off China pitcher Zhao Quansheng in the fifth inning, and center fielder Kosuke Fukudome made it back-to-back bashes with a solo shot. Hitoshi Tamura had Japan's final homer, a two-run shot in the seventh.

    China had tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the fourth when catcher Wang Wei hit a two-run shot against winning pitcher Koji Uehara, who struck out six in five innings of work.

    Japan faces Chinese Taipei in Classic action on Saturday night, while the Chinese will try to knock off Korea.

  • #2
    Korea rolls into Round 2 of Classic
    03/04/2006 6:16 AM ET
    By Jim Street / MLB.com

    • Box score
    http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/...hnint_korint_1

    TOKYO -- Another superb team pitching effort has turned some California dreamin' into reality for Korea.

    Right-hander Min Han Son needed a couple of batters to find the strike zone Saturday, but he settled into a groove and pitched four shutout innings as Korea -- thanks also to Japan's victory over Chinese Taipei in the nightcap -- clinched a trip to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals in Anaheim with a 10-1 victory over China at Tokyo Dome.

    Asia's top seed will be determined Sunday when Japan plays Korea in the Pool A finale. The winner goes to the United States as the top seed and plays the Pool B winner at 1 p.m. (PT) next Sunday at Angel Stadium while the loser plays the Pool B runnerup at 8 p.m. (PT) Sunday.

    Korea's players had some added incentive going into their game against China. They were informed before the game that they must continue in the Classic without one of their teammates.

    The shoulder injury third baseman and cleanup hitter Kim Dong Joo suffered Friday sliding head-first into first base has knocked him out of the Classic -- and beyond.

    While discussing his team's victory, Korea manager Kim In-Sik broke the news that Dong Joo has a broken bone in his left shoulder and won't play again anytime soon.

    "I think he has already gone through an operation," the manager said. "A part of his bone is fractured, as it came off at the joint. It has been suggested that he should go to the United States because they have better doctors there. It has not been decided yet."

    In-Sik said the injury could sideline the star third baseman for up to three months.

    "He is with us in our hearts and we want to do well for him in the remaining games," designated hitter Seung Yeop Lee said.

    Korea completed its primary mission here -- advancing to the second round of the inaugural Classic -- and came close to pitching another shutout. That bid ended in the eighth inning when China left fielder Shuo Yang greeted right-handed reliever Jae Hun Chung with a home run to left field.

    The Korean team generated so much offense against the outmanned China team that Dong Joo's absence was hardly noticed. Seung Yeop led the 18-hit assault against four China pitchers with two home runs, two singles, a sacrifice fly and five RBIs.

    But it's the pitching that put Korea in the quarterfinals in Anaheim next weekend.

    Korea used four of its six Major League pitchers in Friday's shutout victory over Chinese Taipei, but needed none of them -- or the other two -- against China, which dropped to 0-2 in the tournament and has been outscored 28-3.

    Son needed a couple of batters to find the strike zone, but he settled into a groove and pitched four shutout innings to pick up the win.

    Son walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, fell behind the next one with a first-pitch ball, and then suddenly became a strike-throwing machine as 32 of his final 41 pitches were strikes. The only hit he surrendered was a two-out single to ninth-place hitter Yi Feng in the third inning.

    "I was thinking about the pitch-count limit in the beginning and maybe trying too hard (to throw strikes)," Son said.

    When he departed after the fourth inning, Team Korea had a five-run lead and was in cruise control.

    Three of those runs came in the third inning when Korea sent nine batters to the plate. Second baseman Jong Kook Kim started the inning with a double, left fielder Byung Kyu Lee smacked a run-scoring double to left-center, and Seung Yeop drove a Chen Kun pitch into the bleachers in right field for a two-run home run, the first of his two fence-clearing blasts.

    "I felt we were a little flat coming out of a big game (Friday night)," China manager Jim Lefebvre said. "I thought our hitting was flat, our pitcher was a little nervous and they took advantage of it. When you don't get a lot of hits, it always looks like your team is down. We weren't getting anyone on base."

    The Korean team, meanwhile, had a grand time, putting at least one runner on base in every inning except the fifth when China reliever Li Zheng struck out the first two batters he faced and retired Kab-Yong Jin on a fly ball to center field.

    But now they must move on without Dong Joo, a .302 hitter last season.

    "Maybe we need to rearrange the batting order," In-Sik said. "We have to make our best order without him."

    Comment


    • #3
      Japan clinches Round 2 spot with rout
      By Stephen Ellsesser / MLB.com


      • Box score
      http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/...pnint_tpeint_1

      TOKYO -- With a guaranteed berth in the World Baseball Classic's second round available, Japan left no doubts on Saturday night.

      Not that there were many after Friday night anyway.

      Team Japan didn't quite keep up with the numbers it posted in its Classic opener, but the Japanese bagged their second-straight win by mercy rule, lighting up Chinese Taipei 14-3 in seven innings in front of 31,047 fans at Tokyo Dome, finishing up an inning earlier than it did Friday against China.

      Hitoshi Tamura set the tone in the top of the first inning with a three-run home run against Taipei starter Chu-Chien Hsu.

      Tamura's shot to left field plated Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Nobuhiko Matsunaka.

      "Because it was a chance to get some go-ahead runs, I just tried to have a compact swing," Tamura said. "And I got it perfect, right in the sweet spot."

      Japan added to its lead in the second and third, posting a run in each frame, and the floodgates opened in the fifth, as Michihiro Ogasawara tripled. Three hits, three walks and a balk later, Japan had a 10-run lead and Taipei was primed for the humbling loss.

      Taipei rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Matsunaka doubled in Tatsuhiko Kinjoh in the top of the seventh to extend the lead back to double figures.

      Matsunaka scored from second on two wild pitches for added insurance.



      Stephen Ellsesser is a reporter for The Japan TImes and a contributor to MLB.com.

      Comment


      • #4
        Korea upsets Japan
        03/05/2006 6:31 AM ET
        By Jim Street / MLB.com

        • Box score
        http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/...orint_jpnint_1

        TOKYO -- Team Korea was getting a taste of its own medicine Sunday and it wasn't real delicious.

        After winning their first two games in the inaugural World Baseball Classic with terrific pitching, the Koreans ran into a mirror in Team Japan. They were one run behind with one out in the eighth inning and facing hard-throwing left-handed reliever Hirotoshi Ishii when they pulled a proverbial rabbit out of their hats.

        Jong Beom Lee lined a single to center field and Seung Yeop Lee drove a hanging slider into the right-field seats, giving Korea the runs it needed for a 3-2 victory before 40,553.

        The largest crowd of the series, 40,553, included Emperor Akihito and his wife.

        After Lee's long drive put the Koreans ahead for the first time, Chan Ho Park, the most famous pitcher in Korea history, worked a scoreless ninth inning for the save.

        The Koreans wanted to win the Pool A series finale and gain Far East bragging rights from the first-ever Classic, but they seemed destined for the consolation prize -- a trip to the United States on Monday morning to prepare for the second round of the 16-team tournament, which will be played March 12-16 in Anaheim, as the second seed from Pool A.

        As the top seed, Korea plays three exhibition games in Arizona -- Wednesday night against the Mariners in Peoria, Thursday night against the Rangers in Surprise and Friday night against the Brewers in Phoenix. A date with the top seed from Pool B (United States, Canada, Mexico or South Africa) awaits Korea in Anaheim on Sunday.

        Pool B teams begin play Tuesday afternoon with the U.S. playing Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix and Canada taking on South Africa later that night in Scottsdale. The top two seeds from Pool B advance to Anaheim.

        Korea played its second game of the Classic without star third baseman and cleanup hitter Dong Joo Kim, who suffered a serious left shoulder injury sliding headfirst into first base in Friday's tournament opener. He wasn't missed in Korea's lopsided victory over China, but surely could have been used in Sunday's win.

        But in the end, having Seung Yeop Lee there was enough.

        A pitching staff that includes six Major Leaguers surrendered just one run in wins over Chinese Taipei (2-0) and China (10-1). But single runs in the first and second innings gave Japan an early edge and Korea's hitters were held in check through most of the game.

        Seven innings into the game, the Korea offense consisted of three singles, three hit batters, one sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. The only run had scored in the fifth inning when Jin Man Park singled, went to second when In Sung Cho was hit by a Shunsuke Watanabe pitch, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly.

        Comment


        • #5
          This is not the first time that Korea has upset Japan.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cubano100%
            This is not the first time that Korea has upset Japan.
            It's the biggest time though, the first time with the best of the best from each country on the roster. And it was the most passionate time after Ichiro's comments about the South Korean and Chinese Taipei teams.
            Best posts ever:
            Originally posted by nymdan
            Too... much... math... head... hurts...
            Originally posted by RuthMayBond
            I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by efin98
              It's the biggest time though, the first time with the best of the best from each country on the roster. And it was the most passionate time after Ichiro's comments about the South Korean and Chinese Taipei teams.
              Japan has been sending professional players from its league to International competitions and they have not won anything yet. They have sent the best in the past too. Maybe a player here and there had been missing, but the bottom line is that how much longer can we say it is an upset when they loose.

              As for Ichiro, this is what you get when you talk to much.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cubano100%
                Maybe a player here and there had been missing, but the bottom line is that how much longer can we say it is an upset when they loose.
                As long as they are the team that is expected to win, when they lose it is an upset. As long as they consider themselves to be superior to the other teams out there, when they lose it is an upset.
                Best posts ever:
                Originally posted by nymdan
                Too... much... math... head... hurts...
                Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by efin98
                  As long as they are the team that is expected to win, when they lose it is an upset. As long as they consider themselves to be superior to the other teams out there, when they lose it is an upset.
                  Yep, the WBC is most definitely NOT to be confused with the Olympics or the Asian Games. We're talking about a whole different level of caliber here. You better believe that Korea's win over Japan in the first round was a biggie.

                  I think it sets the stage for an interesting scenario. Both countries will be meeting again, but for bigger stakes in Anaheim for round 2. To use the old cliche, he who laughs last laughs best, esp. if a semifinal berth is up for grabs. Me thinks we are looking at the start of a great international rivalry.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cubano100%
                    Japan has been sending professional players from its league to International competitions and they have not won anything yet. They have sent the best in the past too. Maybe a player here and there had been missing, but the bottom line is that how much longer can we say it is an upset when they loose...
                    That is true... in the Athens Olympics, their squad didn't look much different than this one. all the big stars from the J-leagues were present. But they were upset(?) by Australia. Well, they have another chance in round two...
                    "I know One Thing, That I Know Nothing" - - - Socrates

                    Comment

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