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Korea slams Venezuela to reach WBC final

Sat 21st, March 2009

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Shin-Soo Choo's first-inning three-run homer proved to be all Korea needed, as it advanced to the World Baseball Classic championship game with a 10-2 thrashing of Venezuela.

Korea, which was the runner up in Pool 1, will play either the United States or Japan on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Team USA and Japan play Sunday. Korea has already played Japan four times in the competition, winning two.

Hyun-Soo Kim went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI for Korea in the win. Tae Kyun Kim homered as part of a 2-for-4 effort, scoring three times and driving in two runs. Suk-Min Yoon allowed only two runs on seven hits and a walk, with four strikeouts, in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory.

Carlos Guillen homered, while Melvin Mora also drove in a run for Venezuela, which was eliminated from the competition after winning Pool C and Pool 2. Carlos Silva was pounded for seven runs -- six earned -- on six hits and a walk in just 1 1/3 innings pitched.

Korea took a commanding lead with five runs in the first off Silva. Yong-Kyu Lee led off with a walk, and Keun-Woo Jeong reached when Bobby Abreu committed an error in right field. Hyun-Soo Kim's single scored the first run, as Lee crossed the plate.

Tae Kyun Kim singled to load the bases, and after a Dae Ho Lee groundout scored another run, Choo blasted a three-run homer to center to give the Koreans an early five-run cushion.

Tae Kyun Kim added a two-run homer in the second to make it 7-0.

Three consecutive singles from Marco Scutaro, Endy Chavez and Mora gave Venezuela its first run in the third, but Young Min Ko scored on an errant pickoff throw to restore Korea's seven-run cushion in the fourth.

Korea widened its lead to 10-1 in the sixth. Dae Ho Lee singled to right field, scoring Jong Wook Lee, who had pinch-run for Hyun-Soo Kim and stole second. Jeong Choi added a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

Guillen hit a leadoff homer in the seventh to make it 10-2, but that was as close as Venezuela got.

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