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Dutch blank powerful Koreans in early upset

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TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- Behind an outstanding team pitching performance and an offense led by Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina, the Kingdom of the Netherlands upset pool favorite Korea, 5-0, in an action-packed opening-round game Saturday.

It was a stunning shutout loss for Team Korea, which finished second in the 2009 Classic, as it struggled to convert runners on bases into runs and was also done in by subpar pitching and a disheveled defense.

Korea used seven pitchers in the game, giving up a total of 10 hits. Four fielding errors also cost the team a run.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands scored the only run it would need in the bottom of second. Former Braves All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones led off with a double to left. He got to third following a sacrifice bunt from Xander Bogaerts, then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Curt Smith.

Korea put pressure on the Dutch defense in the top of fourth, but ended the inning with two runners left on base. Korea started its action after Yong-Kyu Lee walked, reached second on a single by Tae-Kyun Kim and moved to third following Dae-Ho Lee's flyout right. The threat ended, however, when Hyun-Soo Kim grounded out.

Korea more or less repeated the same struggles in the clutch in sixth and seventh, leaving runners on bases in both frames.

Holland increased its lead in the bottom of fifth with a series of hits. Dashenko Ricardo and Andrelton Simmons singled consecutively, and Jonathan Schoop's loaded the bases. Ricardo scored after Bernadina grounded into a force out, and Balentien singled to left to score Simmons.

The Dutch squad scored two more runs in the bottom of seventh, with Bernadina contributing an RBI single and later scoring following a throwing error by Kang, who hurt his foot when he appeared to be spiked on a play at the plate and was forced to leave the game.

Dutch starter Diegomar Markwell was credited with the win after tossing four shutout innings, giving up only two hits and striking out a pair.

Dutch skipper Hensley Meulens praised his players after the win.

"We played a good game of defense, and we got a very, very good start from Diego," Meulens said. "The big boys did their job today. "Big, big performance for this club."

Korean starter Suk-Min Yoon, who gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings pitched, was saddled with the loss.

An obviously disappointed Korean manager Joong-Il Ryu apologized to his club's fans after the game.

"I have to say sorry to Korean fans, as we played an awful game," Ryu said. "This is one of the worst games we have ever played. Our pitchers were in terrible [situations], and that affected our defense indirectly, too."

Debby Wu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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