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Cuba stuns P.R., advances to semis

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  • Cuba stuns P.R., advances to semis

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Garbed in its traditional uniform -- red pants and predominately red jersey -- for the first time in World Baseball Classic play, Cuba went out of its way to save its best for last.

    Cuba manager Higinio Velez was not around to see it all, but he probably would have liked what his red machine did Wednesday night.

    In fact, he would have loved it.

    Cuba topped Puerto Rico, 4-3, to join the Dominican Republic in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in an emotional game filled with passion and close calls. Velez was ejected in the seventh after arguing a call at second base, but even the no-nonsense manager would have to smile after the victory.

    The players sure were, and now they are headed to PETCO Park in San Diego to take on the Dominican Republic (5-1) on Saturday in the first game of the semifinals. The Dominican Republic defeated Cuba, 7-3, earlier in Pool 2 play and will go to San Diego as the top seed from this pool, ahead of Cuba.

    Cuba finishes the first two rounds of play with a 4-2 record. Puerto Rico is eliminated.

    It was business as usual for Team Cuba as it jumped out to an early lead, and succeeded in keeping Puerto Rico's offense quiet as well as the sellout crowd 19,773 fanaticos.

    Until the seventh inning.

    Puerto Rico third baseman Jose Valentin led off the inning with a double in the first of several events that sent the crowd into a frenzy and eventually led to a Cuban uproar.

    Alex Cintron followed Valentin with a single and pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee hit what appeared to be routine groundball that had all the makings of double-play.

    It was anything but.

    Cuba second baseman Yulieski Gourriel fielded Ledee's ball and threw to shortstop Eduardo Paret, who was moving toward second base and preparing to turn two.

    Paret didn't get one.

    Second base umpire James Hoye ruled that Paret was pulled off the bag when he caught Gourriel's relay and called Cintron safe. Valentin scored on the play to cut Cuba's lead to 4-2, prompting Velez to race out of the visitors' dugout, his female translator in tow, to argue the call.

    Velez yelled at Hoye in Spanish, the translator in English. Even starting pitcher Ormari Romero charged out of the dugout, his tired pitching arm tucked on the inside of his jersey, barking and waving his only free arm in protest.


    Cubano: Even with the help of a umpire, P.R. is out. We lost by KO against them in Round 1, so what. We won the one that counts and in their burrow. The Puertorrican Maracanaso!
    Cuba 4
    PR 3



    Velez was ejected a few minutes later and continued to vehemently plead his case all the way to the dugout. The ejected, but not dejected, manager had to like what happened next though as Bernie Williams hit into a double-play.

    Yunieski Maya walked Ivan Rodriguez to set up an eventful 12-pitch showdown with Carlos Beltran that ended with a RBI single to center field, which cut Cuba's lead to one run.

    Rodriguez attempted to score from first when Cuba center fielder Alexi Ramirez bobbled Beltran's hit, but was thrown out at home by Gourriel on a perfectly executed relay to end the inning and preserve Cuba's lead.

    Puerto Rico would not score again.

    What Romero did on the mound should also be remembered. The right-hander was strong for four innings, shutting down the powerful Puerto Rico offense and giving up only three hits in the 71-pitch outing.

    He had help.

    Tied, 1-1, after three innings, Cuba right fielder Osmani Urrutia led off the frame with a single and moved to second when the next batter, Yoandy Garlobo, followed with a base hit. One out later, Puerto Rico starter Dicky Gonzalez walked Ramirez to load the bases.

    Gonzalez was immediately replaced by Jose Santiago and would not face another hitter. Perhaps he wishes he did.

    On a 2-2 count to Paret, Santiago nailed him with a pitch, allowing Urrutia to trot home and give Cuba its first lead, 2-1.

    One out later, Ramirez and Paret both scored on a throwing error by Cintron as Cuba extended its lead to 4-1.

    Cuba shortstop Eduardo Perez led off the game with a walk, stole second base and eventually came home on a groundball by Ariel Borrero to give Cuba an early one-run advantage.

    The lead did not last long.

    Puerto Rico answered in the bottom half of the frame with a leadoff home run by Bernie Williams to tie the score.

    Romero and Gonzalez would make sure it would stay that way until the fourth.


    Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/a...=.jsp&c_id=mlb

  • #2
    Congrats to the Cuban fans and players, they are a young underdog team but they definitely belong in San Diego.

    I hope we can also concentrate on baseball and not politics for the semifinals and finals.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great win for Cuba.

      However, the call at 2nd base was correct. The "neighborhood play" only works for clear double play attempts. In that situation, where getting one out wasn't even a sure thing, the 2nd baseman needed to touch the base, and replays showed he clearly did not do so.

      With Cuba in finals, it would be doubly embarrassing if U.S. and Japan fail to reach San Diego.

      Comment


      • #4
        The last guy on the mound is from my hometown team, The Camaguey Ceramists. :gt :gt :gt

        Comment


        • #5
          With Cuba in finals, it would be doubly embarrassing if U.S. and Japan fail to reach San Diego.
          Why would that be 'embarassing'....Korea has been the best pitching team in the tournament by far. I don't see how losing to that team can be called embarassing. They may not have great names but they have played great.

          And 1 of the 2 will make it...US if it wins and Japan if US loses vs Mexico.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Agente Libre
            Great win for Cuba.

            However, the call at 2nd base was correct. The "neighborhood play" only works for clear double play attempts. In that situation, where getting one out wasn't even a sure thing, the 2nd baseman needed to touch the base, and replays showed he clearly did not do so.

            With Cuba in finals, it would be doubly embarrassing if U.S. and Japan fail to reach San Diego.

            Was it Paret or Gourriel? I just could watch fragments of the game.

            Comment


            • #7
              Jose Oquendo, the Puerto Rican manager, said the Cubans had "five good players any major league team" would want.:radio :radio :radio :radio :radio


              Those 5 players may be the reason why you are packing early with all your MLguers.



              This is why I get mad! Take the lost like a man! h

              Comment


              • #8
                In this article he said they have 'a lot'?

                http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/worldc...0317905_WBC_06

                "They have a lot of good players that any team in the United States would be happy to add to their rosters," said Puerto Rico manager Jose Oquendo, who is also the third base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I took the fragment above from the NY Times. I guess somebody missed quote the PR manager. If that is true, my apologies to him.


                  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/sp...al/16cuba.html
                  Last edited by Cubano100%; 03-16-2006, 12:01 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe he was just pointing out that there were '5' potential superstars on the Cuban team in his opinion?

                    Hard to say. It doesn't sound judging from the other quote that he disrespects Cuban baseball.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Congrats to Cuba and Korea

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Didn't anyone else think the coolest image from that game was the intense, heated argument occurring THROUGH A TRANSLATOR? That was a strange and memorable WBC moment!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aarond23
                          Maybe he was just pointing out that there were '5' potential superstars on the Cuban team in his opinion?

                          Hard to say. It doesn't sound judging from the other quote that he disrespects Cuban baseball.
                          I think he meant "right away" as opposed to "almost there". It's a compliment, albeit a cloudy and potentially backhanded one.


                          Praise is praise, and the Cubans showed why they deserved to be in the tournament. Good luck to them this weekend in San Diego.
                          Best posts ever:
                          Originally posted by nymdan
                          Too... much... math... head... hurts...
                          Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                          I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The mighty Dominicans are next and they will come swinging the bats.

                            Even worse, they will have a Cy Young Colon on the mound. We managed to beat the 2004 AL Cy Young: Santana.

                            Hopefully, we can find a way to come on top. During the first game they only scored 4 earned runs. Cuban 3B Michel Enriquez made an error that costed 2 runs. He also hit into 3 double plays. Maybe he will have a better game on Saturday.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I didnt ever see cuba as such an overwhelming underdog as all the media was putting them... The fact that the PR win over Cuba by K.O. really blinded all the media and believed that that was it for Cuba... They couldn't been more wrong...

                              I think that the dominicans should be cautious with this cuban team, if they beat us, it wouldn't be a surprise... Is going to be a good matchup, but hey, i'm still rooting for DR all the way

                              It would've been better if the semis wouldve been 1Avs2B and 1Bvs2A as in every international pool competition (crossed matchups)... That would've set the stage for a probable caribbean final (and a cuba-usa semifinal which i wouldve loved seeing)

                              NOT ANY MORE... I hope Cuba's luck ends here... But being in the world's top 4 teams should confirm that cuban baseball's for real
                              Licey campeĆ³n today and always!

                              Comment

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