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Cuba powers past South Africa, 8-1

Cuba hits a tournament-record six home runs in the game at Mexico City.

March 09, 2009|Associated Press

Frederich Cepeda and Cuba showed off their power in their first game of the World Baseball Classic.

Cepeda hit two of Cuba's tournament-record six home runs in an 8-1 victory over South Africa in a Pool B game Sunday in Mexico City.

The previous home run record for the WBC was four, by the Dominican Republic against Venezuela in the inaugural tournament in 2006.

Norge Luis Vera gave up two hits and struck out six in six shutout innings for Cuba, which finished second in the first WBC. The 37-year-old right-hander did not give up a hit until the fifth inning.

Hector Olivera, Youlieski Gourriel and Yoennis Cespedes also hit solo home runs and Michel Enrique had a run-scoring single.

"We are a team that plays good defense, with solid pitching, good speed and offense," Manager Higinio Velez said.

Johnathan Phillips drove in South Africa's run with a single against Vladimir Garcia in the ninth inning.

Dominican Republic 9, Panama 0 -- Miguel Olivo homered twice and drove in five runs in a Pool D elimination game at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Johnny Cueto struck out five in 4 2/3 innings for the Dominicans, who were upset by the Netherlands, 3-2, Saturday.

The loss eliminated Panama from the tournament.

Australia 17, Mexico 7 -- Chris Snelling hit two home runs and Ben Risinger hit one for Australia in a Pool B game at Mexico City stopped after eight innings because of the 10-run rule.

South Korea 14, China 0 -- The winners put the Pool A game, called after seven innings because of the 10-run rule, out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning at Tokyo.

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