World Baseball Classic Recap: Cuba crushes Chinese Taipei out of the tournament

The United States' disappointing loss to Mexico wasn't the only World Baseball Classic action on Friday night/Saturday morning. Team Italy looked to continue their improbable run to the top of Pool D, Spain and Puerto Rico made their tournament debuts, and, most importantly, Cuba and Chinese Taipei just finished up an eliminated game in Tokyo this morning. 

After the jump, let's break down the last 24 hours or so of non-Team-USA WBC action. 


Cuba 14 Chinese Taipei 0 (7 innings)

About 24 hours ago, Chinese Taipei was close to pulling off the biggest upset in their baseball history. This morning, they're eliminated from the tournament. Cuba used the home run in a way that it hasn't been used yet i this tournament to bury Taiwan and put them within a game of another trip to the WBC semifinals. In the first inning, Frederich Cepeda hit a two-run homer to put Cuba up 2-0. In the fourth inning, Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run homer to account for most of a four-run rally. In the sixth inning, Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer and Alfredo Despaigne hit a solo homer (his third of the tournament) in the midst of a crushing eight-run rally that sent Taiwan home. Danny Betancourt, Norberto Gonzalez, and Raciel Iglesias all combined on the the shutout with Betancourt going six innings.

Cuba will now await the outcome of tomorrow's Japan/Netherlands game (6 AM ET), playing the loser at 6 AM ET on Monday.

Italy 14 Canada 4 (8 innings)

If you thought that Italy's win over Mexico on Thursday was a fluke, well, maybe you still do since Team Canada is pretty bad this year. Regardless, Italy followed up one of the tournament's most surprising wins with a resounding win over Canada that puts them in pretty good shape after two games, though Mexico's win over the US last night certainly muddles things for them a bit. 

It was Italy's MLB players that drove them to their win over Mexico, but it was the minor leaguers and lesser-known big leaguers that beat Canada into submission on Friday. Chris Colabello — who's currently technically an NRI in Twins camp — had four hits, including a three-run homer in the third inning that gave Canada their first big lead of the day. He scored three times and ended up with four RBIs. The Mariners' Alex Liddi had two hits and also scored three times. Italy split up their 17 hits nicely; every starter had on except for DH Anthony Rizzo, who still drew two walks and scored twice. For Canada … they lost to Italy by ten runs. Nothing good happened. 

Both teams are in action on Saturday. Canada will play Mexico at 2:30 PM ET in what amounts to an elimination game, while Italy will play team USA at 9 PM ET, needing to either win or lose by less than three runs to advance to the second round.

Puerto Rico 3 Spain 0

After seeing the Spaniards get decimated by a group of Pirate minor leaguers earlier in the week, I didn't have high hopes for this being a competitive game. Puerto Rico sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and I figured we were headed for a mercy-ruling at that point, but they never managed to break the game open. They didn't give up any runs, either, and Spain only got a couple of runners even into scoring position so it's not like they were ever in danger of losing, but still, a 3-0 win against Spain is a pretty disappointing result for Puerto Rico. Carlos Beltran, Mike Aviles, and Carlos Rivera drove in the three Puerto Rican runs, while Giancarlo Alvarado, Hiram Burgos and Xavier Cedeno combined on the shutout. Spain is back in action in just a few minutes, playing the Dominican Republic at 11 AM ET this morning. Puerto Rico plays Venezuela this afternoon at 5:30 PM ET in a huge game that may well decide the second team to come out of Pool C. 

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.