HAVANA TIMES — After defeating Colombia 10-3 in their opening Toronto Pan American Games baseball tournament match on Saturday, Cuba stumbled on Sunday losing by a score of 5-2 to the United States.
The USA pitching was highly dominant as they out hit their Caribbean rivals 11 to one and struck out 10 Cubans, reported Ray Otero of baseballdecuba.com.
The US team picked up their first win of the tournament, after being upset by a score of 10-9 to Puerto Rico in 10 innings on Saturday.
The Cubans, now 1-1, play Puerto Rico (1-0) at 12:05 Cuban time (ET) on Monday followed by Canada (2-0) on Tuesday.
Freddy Asiel Alvarez (0-1) was the opening pitcher selected by manager Roger Machado, and the righty from Villa Clara pitched well until the sixth inning when the United States scored two more and took the lead for good.
Freddy’s other bad inning was the first when after an infield hit by Travis Jankowski, Andy Parrino homered to left-center. Another hit and a walk threatened to make things worse but the Cuban defense managed a double play to put out the fire.
The Cubans came back quickly in the top of the 2nd off left-hander Nate Smith (1-0) who lost control, walked three batters and then allowed a hit by Raul Gonzalez to left that tied the game at 2-2.
With the score tied, both pitchers then put up a series of scones until the bottom of the 6th. With two outs Freddy gave up a double to left by cleanup hitter and second baseman Jake Wilson. The Cuban manager then decided to grant an intentional walk to major league veteran Casey Kotchman. But the strategy didn’t work as Tyler Pastornicky doubled to center and cleared the bases for a 4-2 USA advantage.
Freddy Asiel, the loser, finish his work with 5.2 innings pitched, allowing seven hits – two of them doubles and a homer. He gave up two walks, one intentional, and struck out six, throwing and a total of 96 pitches.
The first of two Cuban relievers was the 19-year Livan Moinelo, who went 1.1 innings, allowing the final run, although unearned, in the 8th inning after a fielding error by Malleta allowed Brian Bogusevich to reach first and consecutive singles by Jake Wilson and Casey Kotchman.
Moinelo was then replaced by Erlis Casanova who would finish the inning stranding runners on first and third.
The US manager decided to take out his left-handed starter Smith after six innings of one hit ball, allowing Cuba’s two runs, walking three and striking out six. He was unhittable after the control problem in the second inning.
Smith was followed by C. Coleman who kept the Cubans hitless through the eighth. Closer Josh Hader pitched the ninth to get the save, striking out the heart of the Cuban lineup: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne and pinch hitter Yordan Manduley.