A big comeback for Korea at the World Baseball Classic was not big enough, and even though the Koreans beat Chinese Tapei 3-2 on Tuesday, they will not advance in the tournament.
Korea came up with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against former major leaguer Hong-Chih Kuo to overcome a 2-0 deficit, but needed to win by five runs or more to swing a tiebreaker. Korea, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands each finished 2-1 in Pool B but, because of run differential, only host Taipei and the Netherlands move on to the second round. Korea, which took second place in the 2009 WBC, goes home.
TQB is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus the number of runs allowed, divided by the number of innings played on defense. For purposes of determining TQB, only the scores from the games between the tied teams are to be used in the calculation.
So, there's a shootout, right? Nope. How about a game of Connect Four? No, just math.
China gets on the board: At Fukuoka, Japan, China stunned Brazil with five runs in the bottom of the eighth and won 5-2 in the final game of the tournament for both teams. China automatically qualified for the next WBC tournament in 2017 by virtue of their victory. Ray Chang, an American playing in the Twins system, hit a go-ahead two-run single to key China's comeback.
"No doubt, that was the biggest hit of my life," Chang said. "I've played seven or eight years of professional baseball. I've had some clutch hits in my career, but nothing like this. This is not just for a Single-A, Double-A team. This is for an entire country."
Though it played competitively, Brazil — managed by new Hall of Famer Barry Larkin — finished 0-3.
Looking ahead: Cuba plays Japan on Wednesday morning to wrap up Pool A. Both squads, which are 2-0 so far, have advanced to the second round, but seeding will be impacted by who wins. Japan, the defending WBC champs, will enjoy home-field advantage in the first round and second.
Pools C and D begin play Thursday. Team USA opens against Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix on Friday night.