Cuba Beats South Korea in Baseball Exhibition Series

, Nov. 6, 2015, 8:33 a.m.


Cuba defeated South Korea 3-1 to take the second game of their exhibition series at a brand new dome in Seoul on Thursday. Cuba scored twice in the bottom of the first and held off South Korea to avenge a 6-0 loss from Wednesday at Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul. The two teams met here for two games in preparation for the inaugural Premier 12 tournament, which will start Sunday with a game between South Korea and Japan at Sapporo Dome.

After getting shut out while managing just four singles Wednesday, Cuba went to work right out of the gate in the bottom first. A bunt single and a double put men at second and third, and Lourdes Gurriel drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to right. Yulieski Gurriel then bounced one right back at South Korean starter Woo Kyu-min for an infield single. Woo took the ball to the back of his right hand and was lifted for left-hander Jang Won-jun.

Jang, who was rushed into the game following the injury, gave up a sacrifice fly to Alfredo Despaigne for a 2-0 Cuba lead. Left fielder Son Ah-seop made a strong throw home, but it went off the line just enough to allow Estayle Hernandez to avoid the tag at the plate. Yosvany Torres hit two batters and gave up an infield single to load the bases with two outs in the top second, but retired Lee Yong-kyu on a pop fly to first.

In the bottom half of that inning, the Cubans loaded the bases on two singles and an error by second baseman Jeong Keun-woo. It was Jang Won-jun's turn to work out of a jam, as he struck out Lourdes Gurriel looking on an inside fastball. Relieving starter Torres, Freddy Alvarez gave up a single and walked two batters to load the bases with two outs in the top fourth. Jonder Martinez came on to face Lee Yong-kyu and got him swinging to escape the jam.

While South Korean relievers kept Cuba at bay, their teammates at the plate kept frittering away chances until No. 9 hitter Hur Kyoung-min came through in the top sixth to cut the deficit in half. It was shaping up to be another wasted inning for South Korea. Na Sung-bum led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a fly out. When Kang Min-ho hit a comebacker to the mound, Na was caught standing several feet off the third base bag and catcher Frank Morejon got him in a rundown.

Kang reached second on the play and speedier Kim Sang-su pinch ran for him. Hur then delivered a single up the middle to put South Korea on the board. Lee Yong-kyu, hitless on the night up to that point, followed up with an infield single to keep the rally going. Jeong Keun-woo, however, watched a 3-2 curve for an inning-ending strikeout.

Cuba gave itself more breathing room in the seventh. Lourdes Gurriel launched a one-out double off the right-center wall, and his older brother, Yulieski Gurriel, drove him home with a bloop single to shallow left for a 3-1 advantage. South Korea put together its final rally in the top ninth, as Yang Eui-ji led off the inning with a double to right center and Lee Yong-kyu drew a nine-pitch walk off Yennier Cano.

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