Japan and Chinese Taipei move to 2-0 in WBC pool play

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These are the overnight World Baseball Classic games you probably missed. Unless you’re one of those World Baseball Classic superfans.

And, hey, there are worse things to be.

Helped by a four-run fourth inning, Chinese Taipei defeated a feisty Netherlands squad 8-3 on Sunday in Taichung, Taiwan. Dai-Kang Yang homered and tallied three RBI. Taipei is now 2-0 in Group B with good odds to advance to the next round in Tokyo.

Over in Group A, two-time defending champion Japan beat China 5-2 at the Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka, Japan. Yoshio Itoi racked up five RBI and Japanese starter Kenta Maeda fanned six batters over five scoreless frames. Japan is 2-0 in Group A.

If you want a nice breakdown of the pools and the tournament bracket that will follow pool play, check out the official 2013 WBC website. China will face Cuba today in Group A and Korea plays Australia in Group B.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).