Matt Shoemaker wasn't himself in his first IBAF Baseball World Cup appearance. Given a second shot, he was his best self.
Shoemaker completed five innings of two-hit ball Friday as the United States defeated South Korea, 3-1, in in Panama.
Due to rain and a nearing nightcap, the game was called at seven innings. Team USA (3-3, 6-4 overall) will oppose Venezuela later Friday. The tournament's medal round commences Saturday with the United States still eligible for the bronze medal but having been eliminated from gold medal contention.
Shoemaker (1-1) allowed only a second-inning double to Chang Min Mo and a fifth-frame single to Hae Min Park. In between, the 25-year-old right-hander retired 11 straight batters. He struck out four and threw 53 pitches.
The Angels farmhand had allowed seven earned runs over three innings in his first international appearance Oct. 7 against gold medal-chasing Netherlands. His ERA now stands at 7.88.
An undrafted free-agent acquired in 2008, Shoemaker blossomed for the Halos organization in 2011. He compiled a 12-7 record and a 3.15 ERA between stops at Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake.
South Korea scored its lone run in the sixth against relievers Royce Ring (Red Sox) and Peter Andrelczyk (Marlins). The latter hurler earned his first save after Ring failed to retire either batter he faced.
American Brett Jackson, the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, led off the game with a single, stole second base and scored two batters later on Joe Thurston's one-out single. .
In nine games, Jackson is batting .400 (14-for-35) and Thurston (Marlins) leads the club in hits (10) and RBIs (15).
In the second frame, Tommy Mendonca (Rangers) singled, advanced to third base on a single by Jordan Danks (White Sox) and crossed home plate on Jackson's sac fly into right field.
Both runs were charged to South Korea starter Jong Huen Park (0-2), who exited after five innings.