World Baseball Classic: Australia edges South Korea; the Netherlands wins again

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World Baseball Classic: Australia edges South Korea; the Netherlands wins again

Robbie Perkins hit one of Australia’s three home runs in its 8-7 victory over South Korea in the World Baseball Classic opener for both teams on Thursday (Wednesday night PT) at the Tokyo Dome.

Australia, leading 5-4 in the top of the eighth, put the Group B win away with a three-run shot by Perkins. The blast came off Hyeon-Jong Yang, who had entered in relief in the inning and made only seven pitches and got no one out.

Australia went ahead 2-0 in the fifth, but South Korea rallied with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. That came on Euiji Yang’s three-run, line-drive home run to left field.

South Korea added another run in the sixth. But Australia scored three in the seventh to take the lead.

The seventh inning also featured a three-run homer from Robbie Glendinning, with Australia living off its power game.

South Korea scored three runs in its eighth – on five walks and a hit batter – to cut the lead to 8-7 but could not break through in the ninth.

THE NETHERLANDS 3, PANAMA 1: The Netherlands, after beating Cuba in the opener, won its second game in two days in a Group A game in Taichung, Taiwan.

Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts homered in the third to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead. Jurickson Profar added to the lead in the fifth with another one-run home run.

Panama’s Erasmo Caballero cut the lead to 2-1 in the sixth on a single that scored Jose Ramos.

The Netherlands picked up its final run in the eighth when Bogaerts scored on a wild pitch by Alberto Baldonado.

TEAM USA LOSES EXHIBITION: Team USA is packed with considerable power as it defends its 2017 WBC title, but the expected power was absent Wednesday night as the squad was limited to four hits in a 5-1 exhibition loss to the San Francisco Giants in front of a crowd of 6,690 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“It wasn’t the way I drew it up,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said. “But we got off the field with everybody healthy.”

DeRosa is hoping the team comes together quickly and uses its exhibition games to get a few quality at-bats.

Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea, Scott Alexander, John Brebbia and Mauricio Llovera pitched for the Giants, with the final three each working a hitless inning against a combination of U.S. roster players and minor leaguers borrowed from the Giants for the day.

Paul Goldschmidt homered off Manaea leading off the sixth. The St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman and 2022 National League MVP batted cleanup in the loaded U.S. lineup, with the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber hitting in front of him.

Batting fifth was Goldschmidt’s Cardinals teammate, Nolan Arenado (El Toro High), followed by Houston’s Kyle Tucker, the Phillies’ Trea Turner, the Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto and the New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil – who led the major leagues with a .326 batting average in 2022 – batting ninth.

Trout was hit by a pitch in the first inning and stayed in for two more at-bats as all the starters went to the plate three times. DeRosa said Trout will play in Thursday’s exhibition against the Angels, in Tempe.

Cardinals veteran right-hander Miles Mikolas started for the U.S. and went 2-2/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs, while striking out two.

Mikolas is participating in his first WBC, but he did spend three seasons in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants. He made it to the majors before that, and since signing with St. Louis in 2018, he has been a reliable arm, winning 41 games in four seasons and posting a 3.46 ERA. He missed the abbreviated 2020 season after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

Joc Pederson, who drove in the Giants’ first run with an infield out, will be playing for Israel in the WBC. San Francisco’s David Villar homered off Chicago White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman in the sixth.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly will start against the Angels on Thursday, and like Mikolas, will be limited to 45 pitches.

The U.S. team opens tournament play on Saturday against Great Britain at Chase Field in Phoenix.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 08: Mike Trout #27 of the United States prepares for a Spring Training exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on March 08, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Angels star Mike Trout prepares for a Team USA exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night in Scottsdale, Arizona. The U.S. squad, which is preparing for its World Baseball Classic opener later this week, will face the Angels on Thursday in Tempe. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)