By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)
The seventh-ranked Netherlands team put in a complete effort against No. 4 Korea, triumphing 5-0 in the opening game for both teams in Pool B of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Diegomar Markwell threw four shutout frames for the victory and was backed by an offence that produced 10 hits, four of them of the two-base variety.
The Dutch side pushed across their first run in the second. Andruw Jones stroked a double down the left field line and was bunted to third by top Boston Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts. Curt Smith plated Jones with a sacrifice fly into the right field corner.
Markwell, meanwhile, was busy reeling off a strong of 15 consecutive batters started with a strike. Korean hitters spent almost the entire ballgame behind in the count, and Markwell took advantage, allowing only two hits and a walk in his four frames. The left-hander struck out two and picked off one.
Orange hitters plated two insurance runs in the fifth and another pair in the seventh. Roger Bernadina and Wladimir Balentien each had RBI singles in the first rally. Two innings later, Andrelton Simmons led off with a double and score on a two-base hit by Bernadina. He would then cross the play on a fielder’s choice that resulted in a throwing error.
Orlando Yntema was solid in relief of Markwell, allowing only two walks and a pair of hits in three frames. He sent one man down swinging to earn the hold. Leon Boyd (five outs) and Mark Pawelek (one out) preserved the shutout for manager Hensley Meulens.
Suk-Min Yoon was the hard luck loser, tossing 4 1/3 innings and giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out two. Six other pitchers toed the rubber in the contest, with Seung-Hwan Oh the most effective. Korea’s closer struck out the last two batters of the game.
Jeong Choi, the nine-hole hitter, was the only member of the Blue Bogy with two hits, though Hyunsoon Kim and Yongkyu Lee both reached base twice. Korea committed four errors to go with their four hits, while the Netherlands was flawless in the field. Jonathan Schoop handled all eight of his chances flawlessly to lead the team.
Bogaerts made several impressive defensive plays in his first international game, in which he manned the hot corner for the first time outside of practice. He started a double play in the sixth by diving into the shortstop hole, scooping the short hop and nailing the throw to second.
The Netherlands will look to stay atop their group when they battle the host nation, Chinese Taipei, on Mar. 3. The fifth-ranked Taiwanese squad defeated No. 10 Australia 4-1 in the WBC’s first game. First pitch is at 6:30 a.m. GMT. Korea will take on the Baseballroos in a must-win game for both nations. Their matchup is at 10:30 a.m. GMT on Mar. 4.
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