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Day 1 of Olympic baseball
2008-08-13 07:11
by Bob Timmermann

The Olympic baseball tournament began Tuesday evening (on the West Coast of the U.S.) with a 5-0 win by Taiwan over the Netherlands. Taiwan was not affected much by the loss of infielder Tai-shan Chang, who failed a pre-tournament drug test.

The host team China lost to Canada 10-0 in a game shortened to 8 innings by the mercy rule.

The USA rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth on a Mike Hessman homer and a Matt Brown 2-run single, but South Korea answered with a 2-run rally of its own to win 8-7. Jong-wook Lee had the game-winning sacrifice fly.

And the final game of the day matched up co-favorites Cuba and Japan, a rematch of the 2006 World Baseball Classic Final. Cuba won this one, 4-2. Cuba scored all of its runs against Japanese starter Yu Darvish in the first five innings. Norge Luis Vera and Pedro Luis Lazo combined for the win and save for Cuba.

Coming up next: USA vs Netherlands, China vs South Korea, Canada vs Cuba, Taiwan vs Japan.

All eight teams play each other in a round robin format. The top four play knockout games to determine the medalists.

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