TOKYO, March 9 (Xinhua) — China suffered an 8-1 defeat to hosts and Olympic champion Japan in their World Baseball Classic Pool B opener at the Tokyo Dome on Thursday.
In front of a sell-out home crowd of 41,000 fans, China, which does not have a strong baseball tradition, managed to keep in competition by trailing 3-1 half way into the game, but slumped in the seventh when Japan pulled away.
Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani proved the key figure, striking out five while allowing no walks and just one hit in a 49-pitch outing.
China manager Dean Treanor said he was thinking in the middle of the game that they had the chance to win, but his young side failed to cope with the pressure and Ohtani made the difference.
“Shohei is Shohei, and he showed really who he is tonight,” the 75-year-old American said. “He obviously threw the ball well.”
China will next play the Czech Republic on Friday while Japan take on South Korea.