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is a blog to give a fresh angle on a fascinating and beautiful Caribbean Island country that, despite being relatively small and with only 11 million people, has been a major player in American and world politics for a half century. I also suggest you try www.havanatimes.org

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Mistakes Give Dominicans 7-3 Win Over Cuba

by Circles Robinson

When you give up eight walks, hit two batters, commit a balk, allow nine hits, make two fielding errors, and bat into three double plays, winning the game is pretty much out of the question.

Nonetheless, in its 7-3 loss to the Dominican Republic on Monday Cuba’s tying run was at bat with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth.

A called third strike to pinch-hitter Juan Carlos Pedroso by the fourth Dominican reliever, Fernando Rodney, brought an end to the game that saw Cuba down 7-0 by the sixth inning.

Odalis Perez got the win pitching 4.2 innings. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three. Vicyohandri Odelin took the loss going 2.1 innings and giving up three runs, two earned.

In all, Cuba used seven pitchers, all of which walked at least one batter. The Dominicans had runners on base in all but the second inning.

David Ortiz had a solo home run for the Dominican Republic in the fifth while Yulieski Gourriel did the same in the seventh to get Cuba on the scoreboard.

Cuban third baseman Michel Enriquez had a day he will quickly try to forget. The normally outstanding fielder and solid hitter made a costly two-run throwing error in the third and managed to hit into double plays in each of his first three at-bats. An error by first baseman Ariel Borrero in the sixth gave the Dominicans another run.

Both starting pitchers were pulled before they reached 50 throws and will be eligible to pitch in the semi-finals if their team makes it.

In the other Pool 2 World Baseball Classic game on Monday, Venezuela came alive with a two run homer by Endy Chavez in the fifth and a grand slam by Victor Martinez in the eighth to beat the previously undefeated Puerto Rico 6-0.

Carlos Zambrano, the Venezuelan starter, pitched four innings of two-hit, no-run ball and six relievers held the powerful Puerto Rican bats scoreless.

Now, all four Caribbean teams, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are tied 1-1. The winners in the games on Tuesday between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic and Wednesday between Cuba and Puerto Rico will produce the Pool 2 qualifiers that will head for San Diego and the semi-finals on March 18.

Cuba’s Manager Higinio Velez is well aware that his team will need better clutch hitting, good fielding, as well as control pitching to get the job done against the tough Puerto Rico.

In Pool 1, the United States was stunned by South Korea 7-3 on Monday night and will have to beat Mexico on Thursday to battle a ticket to the semi-finals. The US, favored to win the tournament, had also lost a first round game to Canada.

Korea, the only undefeated team left in the WBC, was led by Seung Yeop Lee and his tournament leading fifth homer against US ace Dontrelle Willis. Heep-Seop Choi added another three run shot that at one point had the United States team down 6-1.

On Tuesday, Japan 0-1 plays Mexico 0-1, while Wednesday Korea 2-0 has a rematch against Japan, which it beat in Round 1.

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