Members of the Korea's Baseball team celebrate after defeating Chinese Taipei to win the gold medal at the 16th Asian Games on Friday. [Photo/Agencies]
Kang Jung-ho ripped a pair of two-run homers on Friday as Korea knocked off reigning Asian Games champion Chinese Taipei 9-3 in Baseball's gold medal game.
Chinese Taipei starting pitcher Pan Wei-lun gave up six runs on nine hits in the early going as Korea jumped out to a 2-1 lead after two innings.
In the third frame, Korea's hitters shredded Pan as Lee Dae-ho slugged a monster solo blast over the left-field fence and Kang followed with his first two-run homer of the night.
Korea, also led by Cleveland Indians slugger Choo Shin-soo, took a 6-1 lead in the third, while Chinese Taipei countered with a pair of runs in the fourth to make it 6-3.
"It was a great game, fitting for an Asian Games gold medal match up... I was honoured to wear the Korea uniform," Choo said.
"Although a lot of our players were not in top form, they went out and played their hearts out."
Despite a team full of US major league players, Chinese Taipei could never recover as Korea extended its lead to 7-3 in the seventh with a run off Chicago Cubs prospect Chen Hung-wen.
In the final inning, Kang got his second two-run homer, blasting a shot over the left-field fence off Chinese Taipei's third pitcher of the night, Huang Chih-lung.
Kang finished the night three for five, with five runs batted in.
Chinese Taipei, with its supporters chanting and singing, mounted several scoring chances but was unable to bring in the runs, stranding eight men on base.
Winning Korea pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin struck out eight and gave up five hits, while Yoon Suk-min was exceptional in relief, shutting out Chinese Taipei over four innings and striking out seven.
"I went out and did not make any big mistakes, so I am happy to help my team win," said Yoon.
For the Korean players the gold medal also means they will be exempt from doing mandatory military service, allowing their professional players to concentrate on their careers.
Japan took the bronze medal by dispatching host China 6-2, with pitcher Kota Suda picking up the win.
Japan jumped out to an early lead when Chinese pitcher Wang Pei walked Hayata Ito with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning, bringing Mitsugu Kitamichi home for the first Japanese run.
Kenichi Yokoyama then drove in two more with a double, followed by a Ryo Saeki single into the gap that scored two to give Japan a 5-0 at the end of the first frame.
After Japan notched another run in the second inning, China scored two in the fifth but was never able to mount enough offense to threaten the Japanese lead.
Japan won the silver medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.