Chinese Taipei roughed up by Korea

Korean left-handed starters stymie Chinese Taipei offense

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TOKYO -- Right fielder Jin Young Lee hit a grand slam to cap a six-run first inning, and Keun Woo Jeong added a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth to give Team Korea a 9-0 victory over Chinese Taipei in World Baseball Classic Pool A action on Friday night at Tokyo Dome.

Following a bases-loaded, two-run single to left by cleanup hitter Tae Kyun Kim, Lee connected off Chinese Taipei starter Chen-Chang Lee, who was knocked out after throwing 27 pitches. His control was just not there, as he walked three and hit one Korean batter before giving up the homer.

Korea added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring a run on an infield single by Dae Ho Lee, and Jeong's homer the following inning put the game away. Starting left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu pitched three innings of no-hit ball, striking out three, and was the winning pitcher.

Chinese Taipei could not get anything going and managed just five hits against four Korean pitchers, and the team hurt its own cause by hitting into five double plays.

"Our hitting just did not work out tonight," said manager Chih-Hsien Yeh. "The three [Korean] left-handers did a good job on us. We had our chances, but the double plays really hurt us."

About the poor start and giving up six runs in the first inning, Yeh said, "Our starting pitcher, Lee, tried to hit the corners with his pitches, but he wasn't getting the calls. Then, when he got into trouble, he threw a high strike that was hit for the home run. It was not his night."

Korean manager In-Sik Kim had praise for the left-handers who pitched in the game for Chinese Taipei, especially Yu-Cheng Liao.

"Our hitters were coming back to the bench after making an out and saying how much his breaking ball was dancing. I hope we don't have to face him again," said Kim.

Winning pitcher Ryu learned three days prior to the game he would be the starter.

"I knew if I did not give up any runs, my team would win, and that's the way it worked out," Ryu said after the game. "I was really excited when they gave me that six-run lead in the first inning."

Manager Kim realized he was taking a chance in starting the 20-year-old Ryu, who had not pitched before in Tokyo Dome.

"I had a lot of confidence in him and he came through just fine," said the manager.

Both teams were backed by small but loud cheering sections on their respective sides of the Tokyo Dome stands, with the Korean fans on the third-base side and the Chinese Taipei supporters, who never gave up despite their team being nine runs behind, in back of the team's first-base dugout. Announced attendance was 12,704.

By winning Game 2 of the Asia Round, Korea goes on to meet Japan on Saturday night, while Chinese Taipei will play China in an elimination game for the loser Saturday afternoon at Tokyo Dome.

Wayne Graczyk is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.