By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 9 — After several lopsided games in the World Port Tournament where undefeated Cuba (6-0) had held its rival batters in check, two pitching duels on Thursday against Taiwan (2-4) had the Caribbean team on the verge of its first loss.
The conclusion of the first game was postponed due to rain with the score tied 1-1 after nine innings. Later in the day the weather improved in Rotterdam and game two was played with Cuba getting a come from behind 5-4 victory.
In game one, Taiwan used three pitchers (Wen-Yang Liao, I-Cheng Wang and Ching-Ming Wang) to hold the hard-hitting Cuban team to six hits and a lone run in the sixth inning driven in by outfielder Yoelvis Fiss.
On the mound for Cuba, lefty Michael Folch pitched well again, going seven innings on four hits, allowing one unearned run in the third on two errors by the pitcher himself.
Folch walked one and struck out three. He was followed by his Ciego de Avila teammate Vladimir Garcia who struck out four and allowed only one hit in two innings before the game was called.
In the nightcap, Taiwan had a 4-2 lead after seven innings having knocked out Cuban starter Freddy Asiel Alvarez with a three-run rally in the sixth.
However, in the top of the eighth Cuba scored three times, with the winning run coming off an RBI single by center fielder Girovis Duvergel, suffering a poor series at the plate. Clean-up hitter catcher Eriel Sanchez had tied the score with a two-run double.
Miguel Lahera came on in relief of Freddy Asiel Alvarez and went the final 2.2 innings without a run. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four to get the win.
Japan (2-4) plays Holland (2-4) later on Thursday in the other match-up of the four-team tournament.
For the boxscores on Thursday’s games click on: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/rotterdamboxscores2009.asp