TOKYO, March 7 China knocked Taiwan out of the
World Baseball Classic (WBC) with a 4-1 win on Saturday,
dealing another major blow to the island's sporting pride.
The Chinese also shocked Taiwan 8-7 at last year's Beijing
Olympics but Taiwan were still favourites to win their
elimination game at the Tokyo Dome.
With China losing their Pool A opener 4-0 to reigning WBC
champions Japan and Taiwan crushed 9-0 by Olympic gold
medallists South Korea, neither team could afford to lose.
Hou Fenglian got China on the board in the first inning,
scoring on a sacrifice fly from Feng Fei, before a Hou single
and a double from American-born Ray Chang made it 3-0 in the
Taiwan's Peng Cheng-min pulled one run back but Chang, a
Double-A shortstop in the Pittsburgh Pirates chain, belted a
solo home run in the eighth to restore China's three-run lead.
Taiwan, silver medallists at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics,
beat China 12-3 at the inaugural WBC in 2006 but became the
first team to be sent packing from this year's tournament.
Japan were playing fierce rivals South Korea later on
Saturday for a place in the second round of the WBC, to be
played in the United States.
(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)