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03/13/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL Extra (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"

Garcia homer plates lone Mexican score

ANAHEIM – Seung Yeop Lee’s first-inning two-run homer gave South Korea all the runs they needed as the Koreans went on to defeat Mexico 2-1 in the first World Baseball Classic Pool 1 game for both nations in front of 42,979 spectators at Angel Stadium Sunday night.

It was Lee’s fourth homer in WBC play, tying him with Dominican Adrian Beltre for the lead in that category. He also hit the deciding roundtripper in South Korea’s first round upset of Japan in Pool A play. Facing Mexican starter Rodrigo Lopez, who was impressive in Mexico’s 2-0 loss to the United States last week, Lee worked the count to 3-2 with a number of foul balls before drilling his shot into the right field stands to give the Koreans a 2-0 advantage.

After that, it was left to the South Korean pitching staff to shut down a Mexican offense that had blistered South Africa and Canada for 19 runs en route to qualifying for the second round of the WBC. Starter Jae Seo went 5.1 innings for the win, allowing only two hits and striking out four batters. One of those hits was a solo homer by outfielder Luis Alfonso Garcia. Sao was followed by four relievers, including major league vet Chan Ho Park, who shut down the Mexicans in the ninth inning to register his third save of the Classic. It wasn’t easy, though, as Mexico catcher Geronimo Gil worked Park to a full count before ending the contest with a strikeout, one of nine induced by Korean pitchers.

As in the game against the USA, Lopez pitched fairly well despite allowing those two runs. In three innings, he gave up three hits and walked none, striking out four Korean batters. Elmer Dessens, Jorge de la Rosa, David Cortes and Ricardo Rincon came out of the bullpen to combine for six shutout innings of relief as South Korea could scrape together only two hits against them, but (also as in the game against the USA), the Mexicans just couldn’t get their bats going as both teams finished with five hits on the night. Besides Garcia’s solo shot in the top of the third, there wasn’t a lot to talk about offensively. Third baseman Vinny Castilla, who will play for San Diego this season, went 2-for-4 to raise his WBC batting average to .375. Fellow Padre Adrian Gonzalez had one hit, as did Jorge Cantu, who had homered against both Canada and South Africa.

Mexico will next face Japan on Tuesday at 4PM PST. It is Francisco Campos’ turn in manager Paquin Estrada’s rotation, although Campos got touched up by Canada in his previous start. The Koreans face the United States tonight in Anaheim.

MEXICO …………………………………………………………. 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 5 0
SOUTH KOREA ……………………………………………….. 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X - 2 5 0
WP-Jae Seo (2-0). LP-Rodrigo Lopez (0-2). SV-Chan Ho Park (3). HR-Luis
Alfonso Garcia (1). T-2:57. A-42,979.

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