11/15/12 11:26 AM ET
Thailand, New Zealand hope to learn from openers
By Debby Wu / Special to MLB.com
Now Thailand will face New Zealand -- which also lost -- on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET, available on a free, live stream at worldbaseballclassic.com. The winner will play the loser of the Chinese Taipei-Philippines game, and may still have an opportunity to advance to the World Baseball Classic qualifier final.
Even Damon delivered a lukewarm performance on Thursday, singling and walking once, but popping out twice with a double play at a critical moment over four plate appearances. His double play came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when there were runners on second and third and Thailand was trailing, 4-1.
"My performance was OK," Damon said. "I probably should have walked my third at-bat. You always want to do better than what you did. I feel our chances would have been better without the mistakes."
Very often, the Thai infielders looked uncertain of what they were doing and committed throwing errors. Out of the seven total errors, six were by infielders. The errors contributed to two unearned runs for the Philippines.
Manager Masao Tokunaga said he had used up two key pitchers in the game, and that makes the next game "somewhat difficult" for the team.
New Zealand was afflicted by a subpar pitching staff and a tendency to leave runners on base in its 10-0 loss against Chinese Taipei.
Though bolstered by singles from various hitters, New Zealand was plagued by stranding runners in the first five innings.
A tense moment came in the top of the fifth inning when the Kiwis, trailing by two, had runners on second and third with one out. Chinese Taipei then replaced reliever Chin-Chih Huang with Ta-Yuan Kuan. The decision proved to be paramount after Cheng struck out the next two Kiwi batters, Alan Schoenberger and Daniel Lamb-Hunt, to escape the inning unscathed.
"Our kids played hard," New Zealand manager Andy Skeels said. "I am really proud of their efforts. We've got a game tomorrow, it's not gonna affect us in the clubhouse. I think our team is still really strong. We are looking forward to playing our way to the other end of the bracket."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.