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U.S. plays hardball in 9-1 baseball win over China

August 18, 2008 |  8:42 am

Nate Schierholtz (14) collides with China's catcher Yang Yang to score in their baseball game at the 2008 Beijing Games on Monday.

BEIJING -- When it comes to sports diplomacy, the United States and China will stick to pingpong.

When it comes to baseball, they play hard ball.

The U.S. beat China, 9-1, Monday, but not everyone who started the game with the Chinese was around to see the end.

That included China's manager, former Dodger Jim Lefebvre.

China's best player, catcher Wang Wei, left the game in the fifth inning after a collision with Matt LaPorta at home plate. An inning later, China almost lost its backup catcher, Yang Yang, in another collision at the plate, this one with Nate Schierholtz.

Yang went after Schierholtz and was held back by teammates. Lefebvre was ejected for complaining about the U.S. tactics.

To start the seventh, China reliever Chen Kun retaliated by hitting LaPorta with a pitch  and was ejected. He was soon followed by pitching coach Steve Ontiveros.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Nate Schierholtz (14) of the U.S. collides with China's catcher Yang Yang and scores at the 2008 Beijing Games on Monday. China's manager, Jim Lefebvre, was ejected after arguing about the call. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press