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Korea's Oh extinguishes 8th-inning fire vs. Israel

MLB.com

With the home crowd at the Gocheok Sky Dome roaring with every pitch, Seung Hwan Oh made his 2017 World Baseball Classic debut on Monday in dominant fashion.

In the Classic's opening game -- which Korea lost, 2-1, to Israel in 10 innings -- Korea turned to its lone Major Leaguer in a critical spot. The Israelis had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game, so Korea manager In-Sik Kim summoned his top arm.

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With the home crowd at the Gocheok Sky Dome roaring with every pitch, Seung Hwan Oh made his 2017 World Baseball Classic debut on Monday in dominant fashion.

In the Classic's opening game -- which Korea lost, 2-1, to Israel in 10 innings -- Korea turned to its lone Major Leaguer in a critical spot. The Israelis had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game, so Korea manager In-Sik Kim summoned his top arm.

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The Cardinals' star closer completely overmatched Israeli shortstop Scott Burcham, fanning him on four pitches, the last a perfectly spotted fastball on the outside corner for a called strike three. Oh then struck out two more batters in a scoreless ninth, again keeping the game tied.

"Today, Oh pitched really well," Kim said. "When Oh was in the bullpen at the end of the game, when he relieved, he was prepared for the game. I hoped that he could stop the opponent, and he did very well."

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Israel eventually won the game, 2-1, on a two-out infield single by Scott Burcham that scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning.

Oh finished his 1 1/3 innings with 20 pitches, 16 of them for strikes. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Oh's 10 career Classic games are the most of any pitcher in Pool A, which includes Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands. He has a 2.25 ERA and two saves, with 13 strikeouts in eight innings.

Now that Oh has taken the mound in this year's Classic, he has pitched in all four World Baseball Classics, making him the first player to do so.

After the Classic, Oh will be entering his second season in the Majors. In his debut season in 2016, the 34-year-old posted a sparkling 1.92 ERA in 76 outings and recorded 19 saves, with 103 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings.

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Korea, Seung Hwan Oh