The Netherlands bested longtime powerhouse Cuba in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic in Taiwan
Taichung (Taiwan) (AFP) - The Netherlands beat Cuba 4-2 in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday, stunning the Caribbean powerhouses in the Taiwanese city of Taichung.
The Dutch scored three runs in the sixth inning to sink Cuba, who featured players from Major League Baseball on their team for the first time.
The Netherlands, who finished fourth at the two previous editions of the World Cup-like tournament, scored runs through Didi Gregorius, Josh Palacios and two from Chadwick Tromp.
Palacios broke open a tied game when he grounded an RBI single up the middle, before Tromp followed it up with a hit that fell between two Cuban outfielders to increase the Netherlands’ lead.
The win gives the Dutch, whose roster features several players with MLB experience such as Gregorius and San Diego’s Xander Bogaerts, the edge in a Pool A that also includes Taiwan, Italy and Panama.
Cuba, who finished runners-up in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, scored both their runs through Yadil Mujica.
Cuba are allowing MLB players to represent them for the first time ever, but they endured a frustrating day.
Chicago White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. had one hit in four at-bats, while his Chicago teammate Yoan Moncada was hitless in three visits to the plate.
The Netherlands take on Panama in their next game on Thursday, while Cuba play Italy later in the day.