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Japan beats China in opener

Updated: March 5, 2009, 8:54 AM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- Japan began the defense of its title with a 4-0 win over China in Thursday's opening game of the World Baseball Classic.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki went hitless in five at-bats but Shuichi Murata homered in the bottom of the third inning to lead Japan's offense.

Playing before a near-capacity crowd of 43,428 at Tokyo Dome, Japan took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Norichika Aoki hit a run-scoring single to center field before Murata connected on a 2-run ...

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