Cuba and the Netherlands kicked off play in baseball’s most prestigious international competition in Taichung, Taiwan, for the first time in six years, marking the opening game of the World Baseball Classic.
The two teams were favored to advance to Pool A, which also included Chinese Taipei, Panama, and Italy when they entered the tournament. Cuba came out on top, but the Netherlands came out on top, winning 4-2 for their fourth win in a row in a WBC opener.
Here are the best plays from the game!
Netherlands 4, Cuba 2
Out of the jam!
By loading the bases in the first inning, Cuba gave Netherlands starting pitcher Tom de Blok some early momentum. But de Blok got out of trouble by getting a necessary double-play ball up the middle.
Make a sound!
Despite the fact that the WBC site was the neutral location for both teams, the energy of the crowd was not diminished in any way. Additionally, there will be a plethora of brand-new sights and sounds as baseball enters the global stage. For example: the sound of a strike.
First of many!
Throughout this WBC, numerous runs will be scored, but there will only be one first! Yadil Mojica plated Yoelkis Guibert with a screaming liner down the right-field line, earning him the event’s first RBI.
Just missed it
Jurickson Profar, a former Padre, has a tendency to hit balls far, but this deep shot that would have tied the game barely missed the fence in the outfield.
Didi Gregorius tied the game with a crucial single in the third inning with a runner in the scoring position.
Stretching for it
Despite the fact that Bogaerts is more well-known for his offense than defense, he showed off his glove at short with a pretty scoop and side-armed throw to beat the runner to the bag.
The small breaks, not the big explosions, typically make the difference in tournament baseball. With that, Josh Palacios of the Netherlands made a green grass up the middle in the sixth minute to give his team the lead.
Hit ‘em where they ain’t.
The brief breaks, as previously stated. Chadwick Tromp’s two-RBI single wasn’t pretty, but it got the Netherlands into a 4-1 lead going into the seventh inning.
Cuba responded with a run of its own, but the Netherlands bullpen held firm and prevailed, 4-2, in the game.