South Korea improved to 14-5 all-time in World Baseball Classic play Tuesday, rallying for three runs in the eighth and beating host Taiwan 3-2 to move to 2-1 in the 2013 WBC.
And yet that is the end of the tournament for Korea, which was eliminated despite the victory. Taiwan, the Netherlands and Korea all went 2-1 in Pool B, while Australia went 0-3. Using the TBQ formula the WBC employs to break three-way ties—essentially distilling runs scored and runs allowed versus each other—South Korea lost out to Taiwan and the Netherlands, which advance to the second round.
The Koreans entered the game knowing they had to win by at least six runs, and they could not get their bats going against Taiwan’s first three pitchers. They finally scored a trio of runs in the eighth against former Dodgers lefty Kuo Hong-Chih, with an RBI single by Lee Dae-Ho and a two-run homer by Kang Jung-Ho, a loud blast to left field. But as the home team, it entered the inning needing to score eight runs to push its TBQ past that of Taiwan.
That didn’t happen, and Taiwan’s bench greeted Kuo warmly when he left the mound even though he had blown the lead. He had done enough to push Taiwan, which beat the Dutch and Aussies, on to the second round of the WBC for the first time. Taiwan still has trailed just twice in the Classic after dominating New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines in the November qualifying tournament.