Taiwan, Japan open World Baseball Classic with wins

Chien-Ming Wang threw six shutout innings to lead Taiwan past Australia 4-1 in Saturday's opening game of the World Baseball Classic in Taipei, Taiwan.

Netherlands scores surprising 5-0 win over South Korea

Japan's third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting an RBI single off Brazil's pitcher Kesley Kondo in the eighth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game in Fukuoka, Japan on Saturday. (Koji Sasahara/Associated Press)

Chien-Ming Wang threw six shutout innings to lead Taiwan past Australia 4-1 in Saturday's opening game of the World Baseball Classic in Taipei, Taiwan.

Scattering four hits, Wang, a former New York Yankees star, was helped by a solid infield that turned three double plays to halt Australian scoring threats in the Group B contest.

Cheng-Min Peng homered and Chih-Sheng Lin doubled in a run to pace the home team. Stefan Welch hit a solo homer in the 7th inning to account for Australia's sole run.

South Korea is seen as the strong favourite in the four-team group, with Taiwan and the Netherlands competing for the second spot, and the right to advance to the next round in Tokyo.

Japan 5, Brazil 3

Two-time defending champion Japan had to rally to beat Brazil 5-3 on Saturday in its opening game of the World Baseball Classic.

Japan trailed 3-2 before adding three runs in the top of the eighth inning in front of a crowd of 28,181 at the Fukuoka Dome.

Hirokazu Ibata came off the bench to tie the game with a single to right that scored Seiichi Uchikawa from second. Japan took a 4-3 lead when Ibata scored from third on a fielder's choice and added an insurance run on Nobuhiro Matsuda's single to centre that scored Hisayoshi Chono.

Brazil looked set to pull off a major upset when it took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a double by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Paulo Orlando from second.

Netherlands 5, South Korea 0

Andruw Jones got two hits and Diegomar Markwell and Orlando Yntema combined for seven innings of four-hit ball to help the Netherlands upset South Korea 5-0.

Roger Bernadina drove in two runs and Dutch shortstop Andrelton Simmons went 3-for-5, including two doubles.

Markwell (1-0) struck out two and allowed two hits in four innings.

South Korea's Sukmin Yoon (0-1) allowed four hits in 4 1-3 innings. The 2008 Olympic champions also made four errors, while seven pitchers combined to give up 10 hits.