The Philippines suffered a 6-0 defeat to Japan on Sunday as the men’s baseball competitions of the Hangzhou Asian Games kicked off at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Center.
Starter Paolo Macasaet was pulled after striking out just two batters after Japan scored three in the top of the first inning, while the Philippine offense could only muster three hits in their one-sided Group A encounter.
The defeat means the Philippines will have to beat host country China at the same venue on Monday afternoon in the hope of securing a spot in the super round.
China needed just five innings to beat Laos 15-0 in the other game of the group.
The Philippine batters have previously described the match with their Chinese counterparts as the one that will decide their chances of advancing past group play.
In 2019, the Philippines defeated China 1-0 in the preliminary stages of the Asian Baseball Championship in Taiwan.
Macasaet walked three of the first five batters to load the bases, after which another free pass followed, this time to Kokei Sasagawa, allowing leadoffman Hiroki Nakagawa to score the first run of the game with two outs.
Mar Diarao came on in relief of Macasaet, but allowed Kazuya Shimokawa to single to center and set up Naoya Mochizuki and Masashi Maruyama to leave the Philippines trailing 3-0.
Diarao stayed for two more innings before veteran lefty Vladimir Eguia produced a solid 3 2/3’s inning, fanning five while giving up two runs that extended Japan’s lead.
The Philippines saw its first eight batters retired in order by Japan before Lord de Vera singled with one out in the third.
A chance to score at least the Philippines’ lone run came in the fifth when back-to-back singles by Mark Steven Manaig and Luis Escano put runners on first and second base with one out.
But Lord Aragorn de Vera grounded out on an inning-ending double play, and the Philippines couldn’t buy another hit for the remainder of the time.