Powered by a four-run sixth inning, Taiwan scored eight unanswered runs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 8-2 win over Japan in their third game at this year’s World Baseball Challenge at Citizen Field Park in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday night.
The win not only helped Taiwan bounce back from a tough loss to Cuba on Sunday, but it also boosted their record to 2-1 with two more games remaining in the preliminary round — against the Beijing Tigers of China and Team Canada.
Starter Kuo Chun-lin shook off a rocky start with an earned run in the second and the third, to pitch shutout ball from the fourth inning through the eighth to earn the important victory.
He struck out a tournament-high 10 with a lone walk over eight frames to give the Taiwan bullpen some much needed rest.
“If [Kuo] could just work on getting through the early innings without giving up too many runs, he’d be great,” Taiwan skipper Chen Wei-cheng said of the starter after the game.
Offensively for Taiwan, the big bats finally broke through after four scoreless innings with a pair of runs in the fifth, courtesy of Yu Tsung-han’s solo home run and Hsiao Po-ting’s two-out single that scored a runner from second to tie the game at 2-all.
That was the spark that Taiwan needed to blow the game wide open in the sixth, as Hsiao drove in his second run of the game with a single to left following Wang Chun-chieh’s two-run double to cap off a four-run spurt.
Yang Kuan-wei’s seventh--inning solo blast made it 7-2, -before -Taiwan concluded the scoring with another run in the eighth to complete the eight-run comeback victory.
Japan’s Arakaki Hayato was charged with the loss despite the early success he enjoyed, pitching four scoreless innings of two-hit ball, before running into a world of trouble in the fifth.
Next up for Taiwan are the Beijing Tigers, who remained winless at 0-4 with a narrow loss to the Bahamas earlier on Tuesday.
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