By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 19 — Cuba overcame a scare when Venezuela rallied in the seventh to erase a 0-4 deficit and tie the score at 4-4 in the two teams’ opening match in the 2011 Guadalajara Pan American Games.
Alfredo Despaigne scored the winning run in the top of eighth for Cuba after a double, moving to third on a single by Yulieski Gourriel and then scored the winning run with the help of an error by Venezuelan shortstop Rodolfo Cardona.
Venezuela threatened with two base runners in the top of the ninth, on first and second with one out, on a hit and a walk off closer Yadier Pedroso. The reliever then retired the final two batters to end the game on a line out to second and a hard ground ball up the middle well played by shortstop Arruebarruena.
For five innings the game was a 1-0 pitching duel between Cuba’s starter Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Venezuela’s Carlos Enrique Mory. In the sixth the Cubans got to Mory for three runs including a two-run homer by Jose Dariel Abreu.
Alberto Soto, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, picked up the win and Pedroso the save for Cuba. Reliever Luis Torres took the loss for Venezuela.
The Pan American Games baseball is divided into two groups.
Group A: United States, Dominican Republic, Panama and the host Mexico.
Group B: Cuba, Venezuela Canada and Puerto Rico.
In the other Group B game on Wednesday Canada got by Puerto Rico 5-4.
Cuba plays a night game against Canada on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. local time and an afternoon match at 2:00 p.m. vs. Puerto Rico on Friday. To watch the games live tune in to Baseballdecuba.com