Japan 2, South Korea 6

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10:30 PM ET
August 21, 2008

Lee's home run sinks Japan's gold-medal hopes

Updated: August 22, 2008, 2:25 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) -- Slugger Lee Seung-yuop crushed a towering two-run homer as unbeaten South Korea shocked Asian rivals Japan 6-2 on Friday to continue their surprise march into the Olympic baseball gold-medal final.

Lee, who earns his living playing for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, may not be so welcome upon his return after sinking Japanese gold-medal hopes with a two-run blast into the right field bleachers that keyed a decisive eighth-inning four-run burst.

The surprise package of the baseball tournament, South Korea has never before reached the Olympic final and will now have a chance to claim the last gold medal before the sport is dropped from the Games program after Saturday's final.

South Korea will now await the winner of Friday's other semifinal between three-time Olympic champions Cuba and their bitter rivals the United States.