Chinese Taipei ousted by China

Hard-fought contest ends with Classic's first elimination

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TOKYO -- Chinese Taipei fell to China, 4-1, and was eliminated from the 2009 World Baseball Classic on Saturday at the Tokyo Dome.

Playing before a crowd of 12,890 and scouts from at least 10 Major League teams, Chinese starter Yueh-Ping Lin pitched his heart out, allowing four hits in 4 2/3 innings, but had to retire from the game after passing the 70-pitch limit dictated by the tournament rules.

China got on the board in the first inning when Fenglian Hou singled up the middle and went to third on a hit-and-run single to right by Ray Chang before coming across on a sacrifice fly to center by Fei Feng.

China added two more runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth on an infield single by Hou and a double to left by Chang.

A two-out single in the top of the sixth by Cheng-min Peng scored Che-Hsuan Lin for Chinese Taipei's first and only run of the game, making it 3-1.

Chang then reestablished the three-run lead with a home run over the left field wall off Fu-Te Ni, capping a 3-for-4 day at the plate for the Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand.

Chinese Taipei made a valiant attempt to come back in the top of the ninth when Wu-Hsiung Pan and Chih-Kang Kao hit back-to-back singles, putting two runners on base with only one out, but the threat was short-lived.

China starting pitcher Lu Jiangang allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits.

"I had been worried about our offense ever since the beginning of the tournament," Chinese Taipei manager Chih-Shien Yeh said. "Our pitching was OK today, but the hitters just could not get going.

"We need to accept the improving level of play of the Chinese team. They will get stronger with time. Our loss to them in the Olympics was unlucky for us, when we went to extra innings and the tiebreaker rule, but today they deserved to win. They seem to have made the most of their training in the U.S."

Starter and losing pitcher Lin said, "Giving up that first run put a lot of pressure on us, and we could not come back. I know our fans will be disappointed when we return home, and we will just have to accept it.

"We gave it our best effort, but the players on this team are very young, so the lack of experience really hurt us. We will be back, though."

Wayne Graczyk is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.