JAPAN 14, CHINESE TAIPEI 3 (7 INNINGS, MERCY RULE)
TOKYO (Ticker) -- After flashing its prowess for the long ball 
on Friday, Japan showed that it also can excel at small ball.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka collected two hits, two RBI and a pair of
stolen bases as Japan rolled to a 14-3 rout of Chinese Taipei in
a contest called after seven innings due to the mercy rule.

With the win, Japan (2-0) advances to the second round of the
inaugural tournament, along with Korea (2-0).  The teams face
each other in the Sunday's nightcap to determine final seeding.

"We have to win all three games," Japanese manager Sadaharu Oh
said.  "So I will make sure they stay focused on (Sunday's)
game."

Chinese Taipei (0-2) is eliminated, as is China (0-2), which
dropped a 10-1 decision to the Koreans earlier Saturday.

"I would like to congratulate Japan and Korea for advancing to
the second round of the WBC," Chinese Taipei manager Hua-Wei Lin
said.  "Our team did our best, but our opponent today was more
powerful than we had imagined."

The top two teams from Pool A, Japan and Korea will face the
first- and second-place squads from Pool B - which includes the
United States - in Anaheim, California from March 12-16.

In Friday's 18-2 victory over China, Japan belted three home
runs - including back-to-back shots by Nishioka and Kosuke
Fukudome in the fifth inning to turn a tie game into a rout.

The key inning once again was the fifth Saturday, but the
Japanese resorted to scoring runs in a much more methodic
fashion.

With one out, Michihiro Ogasawara tripled to left and Tomoya
Satozaki followed with an RBI single to give Japan a 6-1 lead.
After Wen-Hsiung Hsu walked the next two batters, Sung-Wei Tseng
came on and promptly balked in a run.

Nishioka delivered a two-run single to make it 9-1 and, after a
single and a walk, Akinori Iwamura drove in two runs with a base
hit to center to cap the six-run uprising.

Nobuhiko Matsunaka had two hits and scored three runs and
Ogasawara and Satozaki each added a pair of hits for Japan,
which belted only one home run - a three-run shot by Hitoshi
Tamura in the first inning - instead producing runs behind 15
hits, eight walks and four stolen bases.

"I was so excited," said Tamura, who also homered late in the
win over China.  "I just wanted to make sure I touched all the
bases."

For the second straight game, Seattle Mariners superstar Ichiro
Suzuki was not a major factor in Japan's offensive exhibition.
The five-time All-Star and former American League MVP went just
1-for-4 and is only 2-for-10 in the tournament.

Japanese starter Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0) allowed one run and
three hits in four innings.  He struck out three and walked one,
throwing 48 of 68 pitches for strikes.

"Since Korea won two games, we felt we had to win tonight's
game," Oh said.  "And Tamura's three-run home run in the first
inning took off the pressure."

Chinese Taipei used eight pitchers, the first seven each
allowing at least one run.  Starter Chu-Chien Hsu (0-1) was
reached for three runs and two hits in only one inning.

"Even though I changed pitchers seven times, it didn't help,"
Lin said.  "We just could not stop them."
 

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