The USA finally found a way to beat their neighbors to the south.
Cuba and the USA faced each other for the eighth time in the Baseball World Cup Finals in Tianmu yesterday. Cuba won the first seven times, but this year the USA never got rattled.
First they got to Cuba's starting pitcher, Yadel Marti Carrillo, who was pulled in the top of the second inning after giving up a grounder to Jason Jaramillo that scored a run and walking the next batter to load the bases. His replacement, Norberto Gonzalez Miranda, had no answers either. He walked the next two batters, allowing the USA to score two more runs and take an early 3-0 lead.
In the third Jaramillo hit an RBI-double to right field and Jayson Nix led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run over the left field wall to put the USA up 5-0.
Cuba finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Alfredo Despaigne Rodriguez hit a single to right field, bringing home both Yoandry Urgelles Cobas and Eduardo Paret Perez. But it wasn't enough to beat the hard-hitting USA squad, who went on to win the game 6-3.
It's the USA's third gold in the Baseball World Cup and the first since 1974. Cuba's streak of consecutive Baseball World Cup golds finally came to an end at nine.
The Netherlands came up short in a bid to win their first-ever medal at the Baseball World Cup in the early game at Tianmu. Takashi Yoshiura hit an RBI double to put Japan up 1-0 in the top of the sixth and Kenichi Yokoyama brought him home with a blooper single just over the shortstop's glove. Japan added three more runs in the top of the eighth and went on to win 5-0. Japanese starting pitcher Tadashi Settsu got his fourth win of the tournament.
Australia struck early but South Korea had the last laugh in the battle for fifth place, which was held in Sinjhuang. Justin Patrick Huber and Benjamin Risinger both drove in runs to put Australia up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but Si Hyun-son drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in the top of the sixth to put South Korea ahead. They went on to win the game 5-2.
Taiwan continued their trend of daytime woe in the early game in Sinjhuang, losing to Mexico 6-4. The win put Mexico in seventh place, and it was Taiwan's fourth loss in five day games this tournament.
The Asian Championship starts on Dec. 1 and Taiwan's first two games are both at 1pm. To help his team prepare, manager Kuo Tai-yuan (郭泰源) said he plans to move most of the international team's practices to the morning.
Attendance was low for many of the games at this year's Baseball World Cup and only about half the seats were full for the championship game. That's in sharp contrast to when Taiwan hosted the Baseball World Cup in 2001. That year the championship game also featured the USA and Cuba and was played before a sold-out crowd of 10,000. Baseball fever was high that tournament, probably because Taiwan played well, finishing third overall.
Top pitcher of the tournament went to Japan's Tadashi Settsu, and the MVP went to Jayson Nix of the USA. Taiwanese starting pitcher Lin En-yu (林恩宇) won the award for lowest ERA.