South Korea's Park Byung-ho hits a three-run home run against Team USA in the fourth inning of their final game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Koji Sasahara
November 21, 2015

TOKYO (AP) Byung Ho Park bolstered his MLB credentials with a three-run homer in the fifth inning as South Korea routed the United States 8-0 Saturday to win the inaugural Premier12 baseball tournament.

Hyun Soo Kim added to a 2-0 lead with a bases-loaded double to make it 4-0 and Park's towering blast to the left field stands off U.S. reliever Brooks Pounders capped a five-run fifth.

''You can tell (Park) is a dangerous hitter,'' Team USA manager Willie Randolph said. ''We tried to execute a pitch and we couldn't and he hurt us with a three-run homer. He's a fine player.''

The Minnesota Twins have won the bidding for negotiating rights to Park. The 29-year-old first baseman hit a total of 105 home runs over the past two seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization.

The Twins have until Dec. 8 to sign Park, who had a .343 batting average and 146 RBIs this season for Nexen Heroes.

Team USA consisted of players not on 40-man MLB rosters but three of them - Brett Eibner, Jake Barret and J.B. Wendelken - were called up prior to the final, making them unavailable.

''You never want to lose your third hitter, a closer and a set-up guy,'' Randolph said. ''But no excuses. Today's game was just indicative that they played a better game.''

South Korean starter Kwang Hyun Kim earned the win after striking out five and holding the U.S. team to four hits over five innings.

''We knew this would be a difficult game because they have a good team,'' South Korea manager Kim In Sik said. ''But our players really stepped up today and got the job done.''

In the third-place game, Sho Nakata and Nobuhiro Matsuda hit two-run homers in the second inning as Japan beat Mexico 11-1 to win the bronze medal.

The two homers were part of a seven-run outburst that gave Japan an early 8-0 lead. Shogo Akiyama hit another two-run homer in the seventh inning and the game ended under the 10-run mercy rule.

Juan Perez accounted for Mexico's only run with a solo homer in the sixth inning off Japan pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano.

The quadrennial tournament, which features the top 12-ranked nations, is organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

The WBSC was using the tournament to showcase baseball's popularity in the region as the sport bids to be re-instated at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The announced attendance at Tokyo Dome was 40,311.

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