South Korea lost to Chinese Taipei 4-0 for its first defeat in the Asian Games baseball tournament in China on Monday, as its bid for the fourth consecutive gold medal took an early stumble.
South Korea managed just four hits against Chinese Taipei starter Lin Yu-Min, while Chinese Taipei eked out just enough offense for its second straight win in Group B of the second round at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Centre in Shaoxing, southeast of the main host city, Hangzhou.
South Korean starter Moon Dong-ju allowed the first two Chinese Taipei runs, while reliever Go Woo-suk served up the other two in the eighth that sealed South Korea's fate.
Chinese Taipei moved to the top of Group B with two wins, while South Korea is now in second place at 1-1. South Korea will close out the preliminary stage against Thailand, with the first pitch at noon Tuesday.
Managed by Ryu Joong-il, South Korea is still not in danger regarding advancing to the Super Round, open to the top two teams from each of the two groups. But the loss on Monday means South Korea is taking a built-in loss into that next stage, where it will likely play Japan and China from Group A.
The top two teams after Super Round action -- with teams each playing opponents from the other group -- will meet in the gold medal game.
Chinese Taipei got to Moon right from the first inning. Cheng Tsung-Che led off the game with a double, and then cleanup Lin An-Ko drove him home with a two-out triple to right-center field.
South Korea missed a chance to respond right away in the top second, stranding runners at second and third with two outs when Kim Seong-yoon grounded out to first. Kim slid head first into the first base bag but was called out on a close play.
Moon settled down after Lin's trouble and retired the next eight batters in a row. But then the right-hander pitched himself into trouble in the bottom fourth.
After getting the first out, Moon gave up a single and then a walk. A flyout moved the lead runner, Lin An-Ko, to third, and Lin later scored on Moon's wild pitch to put Chinese Taipei up 2-0.
The South Korean bats were kept in check by Chinese Taipei starter Lin, a 20-year-old minor league prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The lanky left-hander struck out six, often throwing sliders and curveballs for strikes, and freezing Korean hitters in the box.
The teams traded zeroes until Lin Tzu-Hao landed the knockout blow with a two-run single off reliever Go Woo-suk in the bottom eighth.
Yoon Dong-hee had three of South Korea's six hits in the game.
Source: Yonhap News Agency