Taiwan, Japan open World Baseball Classic with wins
Netherlands scores surprising 5-0 win over South Korea
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.