Japan, Netherlands Win in World Baseball Classic Opening Games

Two-time defending champion Japan rallied with a three-run eighth inning to defeat Brazil 5-3 yesterday, while the Netherlands shutout South Korea 5-0 in the opening games of the World Baseball Classic.

Pinch-hitter Shinosuke Abe sent home the go-ahead runner in the eighth with the bases loaded for Japan at Fukuoka Dome in southwestern Japan.

Netherlands starter Diegomar Markwell allowed two hits in four innings to lead his team to the win over the South Korea at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan.

In the other games, Chinese Taipai topped Australia 4-1 yesterday and Cuba today defeated Brazil 5-2.

Sixteen teams are competing to reach the championship game on March 19 in San Francisco.

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