Cuba Rolls With Victory Against Brazil

The powerful Cuban bats had trouble getting base hits against Brazillian starter Andre Rienzo.  He held Cuba to just one hit in his four plus innings of work.  Cuba was discerning with his pitches, driving his pitch count up by drawing four walks and finally getting to him in the fifth for two runs to take a 5-2 win, dropping Brazil to 0-2.  For Cuba it was their opening game.

Cuban ace Ismel Jimenez worked the same number of innings as Rienzo.  He gave up four hits but did not walk a batter.  He also struck out six, driving his pitch count up.  The most important stat is that he didn’t allow a runner to cross the plate.

The fourth walk by Rienzo to Jose Fernandez to start the fifth proved to be his undoing.  Barbaro Arruebarruena laced the first hit by Cuba into shallow center to put runners at the corner.  A ground out scored the first run but finished the day for Rienzo who had reached his pitch count.  Alexei Bell drove in another run with a single to give Cuba a 2-0 lead.

Cuba expanded that lead in the sixth.  The big three of Frederich Cepeda, Jose Abreu and Alfredo Despaigne led the inning off with two singles and a hit by pitch to load the bases off Gabriel AsakuraRaul Gonzalez pinch hit and grounded out to score one run.  Arruebarruena drove in two more runs with a single off Kesley Kondo.  That gave Cuba a commanding 5-0 lead.

Brazil took advantage of some sloppy fielding by Cuba in the bottom of the sixth to score two.  A walk and a dropped throw by Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu put two runners on.  A passed ball advanced them one base where a run was scored on an infield single by Daniel Matsumoto.  Cuba was able to tame the threat with a double play that scored the second run but cleared the bases and gave them two outs.

Both teams missed opportunities in the seventh.  Cuba stranded runners on second and third with one out but failed to score.  Juan Muniz hit a leadoff double for Brazil in the bottom frame but he was called out for missing first base.

Brazil didn’t get their next baserunner until a Matsumoto led off the ninth with a single.  Working his third inning Raciel Iglesias struck out the remaining three Brazillian hitters to give them the victory.

The box score for the game can be found here: http://web.worldbaseballclassic.com/wbc/2013/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_03_03_cubint_braint_1&mode=box

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