Yang Eui-ji of South Korea (right) reacts to a two-run double by Juan Francisco of the Dominican Republic during the top of the eighth inning of the bronze medal game at the Tokyo Olympic baseball tournament on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
South Korea blew a late lead and lost to the Dominican Republic 10-6 in the bronze medal game of the Tokyo Olympic baseball tournament Saturday, after coming within six outs of its second straight Olympic medal.
Closer Oh Seung-hwan allowed five runs in the top of the eighth as a 6-5 lead for South Korea turned into a 10-6 deficit at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
South Korea won the gold in 2008, the last time baseball was contested at the Olympics. This year, South Korea lost to Japan in the semifinals and then to the United States in the repechage semifinals to drop into the bronze medal game.
The Dominicans scored four runs in the first, but South Korea gradually ate into the deficit before taking the 6-5 lead with a four-run fifth.
But the Dominican bats pounded Oh, a former major league closer who looked utterly overmatched. A wild pitch with the bases loaded brought in the tying run, and Juan Francisco broke the tie with a two-run double.
Johan Mieses landed the knockout punch with a two-run homer to left, and the Dominicans hung on to beat South Korea for the medal.
The Dominicans came to play ball from the opening inning. They batted around and scored four times on four hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly, with Julio Rodriguez and Juan Francisco each blasting towering home runs off starter Kim Min-woo.
Kim only retired one batter before being chased from the game.
South Korea scored its first run in the bottom second on Park Kun-woo‘s RBI single to center. Kim Hyun-soo’s line drive solo home run to right made it a 4-2 game in the bottom fourth.
The Dominican Republic restored its three-run lead with Melky Cabrera‘s double in the top fifth. But that only set the stage for a South Korean comeback in the bottom half of that inning.
South Korea scored the first run of the fifth with three straight singles, the third being an RBI hit by Park Hae-min that made it 5-3 and knocked starter Raul Valdes out of the game.
Another run scored when the new pitcher Luis Castillo bobbled a soft comebacker by Hur Kyoung-min. Park stole third with Lee Jung-hoo at the plate, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch by the new reliever, Dario Alvarez. (Yonhap)