Two-time defending champions Japan narrowly beat Brazil and 2009 finalists South Korea were shocked 5-0 by the Netherlands as the World Baseball Classic got off to an engrossing start on Saturday.
Japan's Seiichi Uchikawa (R) arrives at the home plate in the eighth inning of the World Baseball Classic first-round match Pool A in Fukuoka on March 2, 2013. Japan won the match 5-3.
Star pitcher Wang Chien-ming also threw six shut-out innings as he led co-hosts Taiwan to a 4-1 victory over Australia on day one of the pool phase, being played in four countries over the coming week.
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