Japan and South Korea have scored easy wins to come one step closer to a showdown in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.
Host country Japan scored a 14-3 win over Taiwan while South Korea crushed China, 10-1 on the second day of pool-A play in the 16-nation tournament.
With two wins each, Japan and South Korea are guaranteed to finish in the top two slots after round-robin play and advance to the next stage in the United States.
All Group-A games are being played in Japan. The top two teams will advance to the second round in Anaheim, California, where they will face the top teams from Group-B, which has the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa. Those teams begin play Tuesday, along with the other teams in Groups C and D.
The World Baseball Classic was organized by Major League Baseball to increase the game's exposure worldwide. Last year, the International Olympic Committee dropped the game from the Olympics, in part because of a lack of international appeal.