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Meulens' Double Leads Netherlands to Upset of Cuba

September 20, 2000|From Associated Press

After 21 Olympic games, the mighty Cubans finally struck out.

Cuba took its first Olympic baseball loss today, shut down by a Netherlands team that had never experienced such a moment. Hensley Meulens' bases-loaded double drove in three runs and the Netherlands held on for a 4-2 victory.

It was a watershed in Olympic baseball history. Cuba (3-1) had breezed through the first two official tournaments, winning the gold in Barcelona and Atlanta while going unbeaten.

A team spiced with a few former major leaguers and managed by Arizona State Coach Pat Murphy finally took them down in front of a crowd pulling for the upset.

Ken Brauckmiller held the Olympics' top lineup to seven hits in eight innings, leaving to a standing ovation after Miguel Caldes reached on a throwing error to open the ninth.

The Cubans were undone by one inning climaxed by a former major leaguer who wears weird-looking sunglasses and is known as "Bam Bam."

Meulens, who got the nickname as a minor league prospect in the 1980s, doubled to left off reliever Maels Rodriguez for a 4-1 lead in the fourth, stunning the Cubans.

Cuba 6, South Korea 5--The Cubans had survived one close call the night before, rallying from a four-run deficit on Juan Manrique's tiebreaking homer in the eighth.

Korea (1-2) stunned the Cubans by pulling ahead 4-0 after four innings. The Cubans' high-powered offense, which came into the game batting .467, managed only two hits in the first five innings off Kim Soo-kyung.

The Cubans sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs in a fist-pumping sixth inning that started with walks to Omar Linares and Orestes Kindelan, the heart of their order. Antonio Pacheco drove both of them home with a double.

Japan 6, Italy 1--Japan had 12 hits, three by first baseman Yukio Tanaka, to improve to 3-1.

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