Posted March. 03, 2009 03:35,
The national baseball team is off to a good start in its quest for the World Baseball Classic.
In an exhibition game yesterday, Korea beat the reigning Japanese pro champions Seibu Lions, 4-2, led by first baseman Kim Tae-gyuns two-run homer.
Korea had 10 hits in its World Baseball Classic warm-up. Kim fulfilled his role as the cleanup hitter, going three for four with two runs batted in and one score.
Team manager Kim In-sik played most of his starters except the Cleveland Indians Choo Shin-soo because of pain in his left elbow. Seibu had most of its leading players with the exception of Hiroyuki Nakajima, Yasuyuki Kataoka and Hideaki Wakui.
Korea scored first in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of its agility as its manager said it would. Top hitter Lee Jong-wook stole second base after a hit, then came home thanks to a hit from No. 3 hitter Kim Hyun-soo.
The scored got tied in the top of the third, as Korean starter Bong Joong-keun gave up two doubles. Korea regained the lead in the bottom of the third, however, as Kim Tae-gyun hit his two-run homer that flew 120 meters over the right fence.
Korea solidified its lead in the bottom of the sixth by adding another score. Shortstop Park Ki-hyeok filled in ably for injured veteran Park Jin-man in fielding and went two out of three at the plate.
Kim Kwang-hyun, nicknamed Japan killer, appeared on the mound as Koreas third pitcher, allowing six hits and one run in three innings. He allowed one score in the top of the fifth by giving up two successive doubles with two outs.
On injured Korean pitcher Lim Chang-yong, he was found to have a bruise in his right elbow, an injury less severe than feared. Whether he can pitch in the Asia round of the World Baseball Classic as a closer remains uncertain, however, since he continues to complain of pain.