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2023 World Baseball Classic Day 1: Netherlands outlast Cuba, 4-2

The opening game of the tournament went the way of the Dutch.

World Baseball Classic Pool A: Cuba v Netherlands Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

We’ve looked over all of the different pools, but at last the World Baseball Classic has properly kicked off! The tournament will be played during some difficult hours to follow along live here in the States due to it being hosted in Japan, but if you happened to miss the action we’ll have a recap for you of what went down starting from today on. Last night saw the first innings of play begin, so without further ado let’s get into it:

Pool A: Cuba (0-1) 2, Netherlands (1-0) 4

The Netherlands took the first win of the tournament thanks to a three-run sixth inning that put them ahead for good. Old friend Didi Gregorius started the frame off with a walk and advanced to second on a single from Jonathan Schoop. Cuba promptly made a pitching change, bringing in Carlos Viera to try and handle the jam, and he was successful in getting a strikeout from Wladimir Balentien, but Josh Palacios slapped a single to score Gregorius in the next at-bat.

Viera rebounded with another strikeout, this one against Andrelton Simmons, but then he had to face Chadwick Tromp. Tromp fouled off a pair of meatballs in the heart of the zone to fall behind 1-2, but managed to poke at a slider off the plate and punch a single into center that scored a pair of runs. Viera struck out Jurickson Profar to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Cuba entered this game as the underdogs, but their squad is revamped with some MLB talent since the last time they were on the international stage. Still, it was the unknown players who stood out for them in this one — namely, one-time Yankees prospect Yadil Mujica. Mujica last played minor league ball with the then-Tampa Yankees back in 2012, but he had a statement game out of the gates with a pair of RBI hits. His double in the second inning got Cuba on the board, and he put the ball in play to bring home another run right after the Dutch rally in the top of the seventh.

Today at the WBC:

Panama vs. Chinese Taipei
Time: 6:00 a.m. EST (right now, if you’re reading this when it’s posted)
Venue: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taiwan

Australia vs. Korea
Time: 10:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

Panama vs. Netherlands
Time: 11:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taiwan