Lee Seung-yeop hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning of a game that mattered little because both nations were assured of advancement….
Dae-Sung Koo, whose contract was sold last week by New York Mets to a South Korean club, pitched two scoreless innings of relief to get the victory as the South Koreans overcame a two-run deficit.
Chan Ho Park of the San Diego Padres pitched the ninth for the save. After he retired Suzuki for the final out, South Korean players ran on to the field and mobbed the pitcher.
South Korea (3-0) and Japan (2-1) will travel to Arizona for exhibition games against major league teams, then go to Anaheim, Calif., for the second round, to be played from March 12-16. Their second-round opponents will include the top two teams from Group B, which has the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.
Lee, who holds the Asian record of 56 homers in a season, signed with the Yomiuri Giants in the offseason after spending the last two seasons with the Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines. The game was played before a crowd of 40,353 in the Tokyo Dome, his new home ballpark.
via Lost Nomad, one of whose commenters adds more on the rivalry between Lee and Suzuki (Ichiro):
As a side note, the Korean 1st baseman who hit the game winning home run against Japan, sought a tryout with the Seattle Mariners in 2003. I believe this was the season after he set the Asian [home run] record. Keep in mind back then, the Mariners had 3 Japanese players and the majority ownership was the CEO of Nintendo. The Mariners never offered him the tryout.
He then went to Japan and signed with Lotte [managed by Bobby Valentine]; this past year Lotte winning the Japan’s version of the world series and having team high in [home runs]. How ironic.