Philippines 8 Thailand 2
These two teams usually battle out for the fifth wheel in the Asian powers of Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. The Philippines showed their superiority in the WBC opener, downing Thailand 8-2.
Despite the seven errors committed by Thailand in the game, only two of the eight runs scored by the Philippines was unearned. There seven errors was a World Baseball Classic record.
Jon Robles got the start for the Philippines, giving up just one run in four plus innings of work. He gave up a run in the opening frame when Nathan Lorentz led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an error. A wild pitch advanced him to third where he eventually scored on a Joe Danu single. That was all Thai fans could get excited about until the eighth inning, but by then the Philippines had built an 8-1 lead.
The Philippines erupted for three in the fourth inning, finally taking advantage of a walk and a balk by Kamolphan Kanjanavisut and an error to accumulate three runs. Alec Rosales drove in the first of his two runs driven in with a double. A balk scored the second run and a singly by Devon Bryce Ramirez drove in the third.
The Philippines continued to pile on the runs after that, scoring one each in the next two innings and then adding three in the eighth to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Andres Vazquez, who started the fourth inning with a walk scored two more runs to lead the offense. He also drove in two with a single in the three run eighth.
Johnny Damon got a hit and a walk for Thailand, but his two outs were the difference in the game. He popped out into a double play with runners on second and third and one out in the fifth and he popped out again in the eighth after Apichat Ngamying hit a one out double. Still, the Thais were happy to have him in the lineup.
The Philippines used Geno Espineli to close out the game, striking out two of the three hitters he faced. Geno is the only player on the Philippine roster to have played in the major leagues.
Tawian 10 New Zealand 0
It took the favored Taiwan team only ten innings to dispose of New Zealand. They scored eight in the fifth inning to run away with the game. Yung-Chi Chen doubled twice to drive in three and score three runs. Chen played seven years in the minor leagues, starting with the Seattle Mariners before heading back to Taiwan after 2010 when the Uni-President Lions drafted him. He played for Taiwan in the 2006 WBC, hitting the first grand slam in the WBC.
New Zealand started their ace Lincoln Holdzkom, who had a long minor league career in the United States. He gave up only two runs in his first three plus innings of work. After he left the game Taiwan erupted for eight runs off two relievers. After getting the last out in the fourth Landon Adelman gave up four straight hits before he was relieved. Joseph Boyce could do no better, giving up two hits and two walks to account for the final four runs.
Taiwan used five different pitchers to limit New Zealand to six hits. Kai-Wen Cheng was the most impressive of the five pitchers, striking out the side in the sixth inning. Yao-Lin Wang got the start and the win, going three plus innings.