CHIBA -- This looked like a completely different South Korean team, and not in a good way.
South Korea was shut out 7-0 by Chinese Taipei in the Super Round at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 on Tuesday in Chiba, east of Tokyo. The loss at ZOZO Marine Stadium was South Korea's first in the tournament and snapped the team's winning streak at four.
The exact same starting lineup that produced a home run and four doubles in a 5-1 win against the United States on Monday went silent on this night against three Chinese Taipei pitchers.
Chinese Taipei starter Chang Yi tried to gift-wrap some runs for South Korean hitters in the bottom first, but they wouldn't take it.
Leadoff man Park Min-woo drew a walk and Kim Ha-seong followed with a single. After one out, with cleanup Park Byung-ho at the plate, Chang was called for a balk, as the runners moved to second and third.
South Korea was a base hit away from taking a 2-0 lead, which would have loomed particularly large after Chinese Taipei failed to cash in with two runners on in the top of the first. But Park only hit a flyball to shallow center, not nearly deep enough for Kim to score from third.
Designated hitter Kim Jae-hwan, who blasted a three-run home run in the first inning of Monday's game, struck out swinging.
Chinese Taipei touched South Korean starter Kim Kwang-hyun for two runs in the top second. South Korea tried to respond right away in the bottom second, but a walk and a single resulted in nothing.
Chinese Taipei took a 3-0 lead in the top third and South Korea looked to be in serious trouble, given the way Chang was dealing.
In the bottom third, Park Byung-ho hit a two-out single, but Kim Jae-hwan's towering flyball died on the warning track in right field.
Kim Hyun-soo's one-out walk in the fourth was erased by Min Byung-hun's double-play ball. In the next inning, Park Min-woo walked and then stole second to put pressure on Chang. Then Lee Jung-hoo, who entered Tuesday's game with the tournament-best .538 batting average, was robbed of an RBI single by diving shortstop Wang Sheng-Wei.
South Korea's No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters, Park Byung-ho, Kim Jae-hwan and Yang Eui-ji, went out in order in the bottom sixth, a microcosm of how things went offensively for South Korea on Tuesday.
To begin the seventh, Kim Hyun-soo gave a high splitter from Chang Yi a ride to center, but it was caught just in front of the fence.
Immediately after him, Min Byung-hun tried to start a rally with a double, but Hur Kyoung-min popped out to first.
Chen Kuan-Yu took over from Chang and retired Park Min-woo on a grounder to second to end the inning.
South Korea put two men aboard against Chen in the eighth, only to see Yang Eui-ji go down swinging for the final out of the frame.
South Korea sent three pinch hitters to bat in the ninth but two of them struck out against Chen Hung-Wen. (Yonhap)