By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
Taiwan last night beat the Netherlands 9-5 in Taichung at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), setting up a showdown against Cuba for a chance to advance from Pool A.
It was a tense game right from the first inning in Taichung, with Taiwanese pitcher Huang Tzu-peng (黃子鵬) showing early jitters, while miscues by the catcher led to three dropped balls, for the Netherlands to put two men in scoring position with no outs.
Taiwan yielded only one run, on a single by former New York Yankee Didi Gregorius, before Huang secured the next two outs.
Photo: RITCHIE B. TONGO, EPA-EFE
In the bottom half of the first inning, Taiwan loaded up the bases to take advantage of shaky control by Dutch starting pitcher Lars Huijer, but a flyout ended the turbulent first inning.
Taiwan bust open in their next turn at bat, getting a hit, then two walks, to fill up the bases, while designated hitter Lin Li (林立) pushed one run on an RBI-single, to level it one apiece.
Huijer made way for second pitcher Derek West, who got a high fly for the second out, but still had bases loaded.
Yu Chang (張育成) pulled the trigger on a fastball, blasting it over the centerfield wall for a grand slam homer, for the hosts to go in front 5-1 after the second inning.
In the third, Gregorius pulled one back on a grounder for fielder’s choice, leaving the Dutch trailing 5-2 at that point.
Taiwan in their bottom half again had another rally going on a double and two walks to load the bases again.
Chiang Kun-yu (江坤宇) pushed one run home on a sacrifice-fly, and Cheng Tsung-che (鄭宗哲) tapped an infield single to send another man home, for Taiwan ahead at 7-2 at end of the third inning.
Taiwan padded the lead in the fourth, when Chen Chieh-hsien (陳傑憲) ripped a deep shot for a triple, and knocked in another run, for a 8-2 scoreline at that point.
Both sides put other relievers on the mound in the middle innings, as they shut down the offense, without further scoring in the fifth to eighth innings.
The Dutch picked up two more runs in the top of the eighth and Taiwan grabbed a run in the bottom.
The Netherlands grabbed one more score in the ninth, before the game was called.
In the earlier game in Taichung, Jose Ramos hit a solo homer in the first and scored on Allen Cordoba’s single in the seventh inning as Panama beat Italy 2-0 in Group A.
In Tokyo, Former Philadelphia Phillies minor-leaguer Rixon Wingrove hit a three-run double in the first inning, helping Australia cruise to a 12-2 victory over China.
Japan dominated the Czech Republic in the late game 10-2.
Additional reporting by AP and Reuters
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