Puerto Rico defeated previously undefeated Cuba, and the Netherlands remained without a loss on Friday as second-round play in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Baseball World Cup tournament continued. Meanwhile, Team USA's game against Australia was rained out on Friday, with a makeup date still to be determined. A full slate of seven other games was played. The bi-annual event is being staged in seven European nations.
In the biggest game of the day, Puerto Rico handed Cuba its first defeat of the World Cup, 5-2, as Luis Matos led off with an eighth-inning homer and a two-run double by Jose Valentin broke a 2-2 tie in Amsterdam. The Dutch defeated Great Britain, 8-0, in Rotterdam as Tom Stuifbergen and two relievers pitched an eight-hit shutout. In Haarlem, Venezuela defeated South Korea, 4-1, as Dirimi Chavez broke a 1-1 tie with a leadoff sixth-inning home run. In Verona, Chinese Taipei beat Mexico, 1-0, when Chia-Hao Chang scored the decisive run on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the 10th inning. In Provini, host Italy was a 6-4 winner over Japan. The Italians came back from a 2-0 deficit to post their first win of this World Cup. Franceso Imperiali's three-run double with the bases loaded in the sixth inning broke the game open. Also in Amsterdam, Nicaragua snapped a two-game losing streak with a 9-5 victory over Spain. A pair of bases-loaded walks in the seventh pushed the lead to the final margin, and pitchers Julio Raudez and Jose Saenz held Spain scoreless the rest of the way. And finally, in Godo, Italy, Team Canada pounded out 17 hits in a 19-2 thrashing of the Netherlands Antilles. In that one, Canada scored in every inning except one, and Brooks McNiven pitched all six innings for the win. Second-round play, consisting of 16 teams, will last until Sunday. Team USA is situated in Group G, along with Italy, Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Mexico and Netherlands Antilles. Group F consists of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Nicaragua, South Korea, Spain and Venezuela. The top eight teams -- four from each group -- in the second round will advance to the third and final round, which runs Sept. 22-27, exclusively in Italy.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.