Cuba beats Australia, reaches 1st WBC semifinal since 2006 Mets’ Jose Quintana out until at least July with rib injury

TOKYO. For the first time since 2006, Cuba has earned a 7,500-mile flight to Miami for the World Baseball Classic semi-finals.

“Cuban baseball fans are very emotional right now. They have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” manager Armando Johnson said after a 4-3 win over Australia on Wednesday night. “This is a new page, a new chapter.”

Alfredo Despain hit the game-tying goal and Yoelkis Gibert followed with a two-ranked single in a three-ranked fifth inning.

Using current major league players for the first time in the WBC, Cuba plays Sunday at Marlins Park against the winner of the quarter-final between Venezuela and the team that finished second in Group C: Canada, Colombia, Mexico or the United States.

Former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Rickson Wingrove, who led Australia with seven RBIs in the tournament, hit a solid RBI single in the second and batted a two-run homer in the sixth off Roenis Elias of the Chicago Cubs. Australia won two matches later in the sixth before Elias retired from Alex Hall’s Milwaukee Brewers avenue mid-flight.

Elias hit a perfect seventh pitch, Livan Moinelo worked a couple of runs into a hitless eighth to eliminate Ulrich Boyarsky and eliminate Tim Kennelly at the end of the half. Raidel Martinez went 1-2-3 on the ninth for a save, eliminating Darryl George on the eighth bat in the final out.

In front of a crowd of 35,061 at the Tokyo Dome, Luis Robert equalized Cuba by scoring in the third round.

Cuba, which lost in the 2006 final to Japan, was eliminated in the second round of the previous three WBC World Championships. The Cubans won their third straight game in this tournament after losing the first two.

Australia exited the group stage for the first time.

“Essentially, this trip changes the perception of Australian baseball at home and hopefully changes the course of the conversation,” said George. “People don’t really expect much from us.”

Yoan Moncada of the Chicago White Sox had two hits and two walks and is hitting .421 with five RBIs. Moncada was third with a double with one out from Mitch Neinborn, who was ahead of Roel Santos.

Winner Miguel Romero, the second of five Cuban pitchers, allowed one hit in 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Santos finished in fifth place against the underdog Josh Guyer, who passed Moncada. Sam Holland passed Robert and Cuba passed Despain, who is hitting .412 (7 of 17) with four RBIs and is the WBC career leader with seven homers. The 36-year-old outfielder and designated hitter is a fan favorite in Japan after playing for the Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines from 2014 to 2016 and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks from 2017 to last season.

The Cuban Baseball Federation said former major league player Yoenis Cespedes left the team before the game for unspecified personal reasons.


PHOENIX (AP) – Randy Arozarena had two doubles and five RBIs, Rowdy Tellez added a two-run single and a homer solo, while Mexico pulled away late from Canada to earn a place in the quarter-finals.

Mexico started the tournament with a surprise loss to Colombia in Group C at Chase Field but rallied with three straight victories to beat the US, UK and Canada.

José Urquidi gave up two tries for four innings, striking out five to earn the win. Arozarena — the 2021 AL Rookie of the Year for the Tampa Bay Rais — scored a base-clearing double in the sixth that broke the game to give Mexico a 6-2 lead.

Canadian striker Edward Julien had two hits, an RBI and a catcher Bo Naylor hit a solo homer. Rob Zastryzny accepted defeat after giving up three runs for two innings.

Canada played without first base star Los Angeles Dodgers Freddy Freemanwho left Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury.


MIAMI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez homered twice solo and had three RBIs, while starter Jesús Luzardo struck out five of four scoreless innings to lead Venezuela, who had already captured the Group D title and a spot in the quarter-finals.

Ronald Acuna Jr. had two singles while Edward Escobar also went deep for Venezuela, which ended with 10 hits.

Venezuela took a three-round lead in the first leg against Robert Stock. Acuña broke out of a 1-of-11 drift that started in the tournament with an RBI single, while Suárez hit a two-run single.

Escobar’s solo shot in the fourth made it 4-0, and Suarez took a lead in the sixth.

Yakob Goldfarb’s single RBI in seventh recorded a 22-inning no-point streak for Israel.

Venezuela joined Japan as the only group winner to finish undefeated.

Israel finished 1-3 after advancing to the second round of the 2017 tournament.

Left-hander Jose Quintana won’t make his New York Mets debut until at least July due to a stress fractured rib.

The Mets are relieved that the prognosis wasn’t even more severe.

Mets general manager Billy Eppler told reporters that a scan revealed damage to the rib. Quintana traveled to New York to visit a tumor orthopedic specialist for a biopsy and additional scans, which showed the lesion to be benign.

“It was more than baseball,” Eppler said. “Jose got our support and everything he needs. I’m just really grateful that we’re at least here, as opposed to one of the other possible outcomes.”

Eppler said that Quintana will have a bone graft operation in New York. Eppler said recovering from surgery would keep Quintana out until at least July 1, but offered no further details beyond that.

“A lot will depend on whether Jose can, how soon he can be physically active, how long he needs after this procedure,” Eppler said. “Does he need a week or 10 days or two weeks before he can run? Because it is a rather complicated operation. Whenever you get a bone graft, it will hurt. That’s why it’s hard to set a specific schedule.”

Quintana, 34, has signed a two-year contract. A $26 million contract with the Mets in December after going 6-7 with a 2.93 ERA in 32 starts with Pittsburgh and St. Louis last season. He is 89-87 with a 3.75 ERA.

Among the candidates for a place in Quintana’s rotation is a left-hander. David Peterson and right-handed Taylor Megill. Peterson, 27, went 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA last season in 28 games, including 19 starts. Megill, also 27, was 4-2 with a 5.13 ERA in 15 games, including nine starts.

This spring, Peterson struck out nine of eight closed innings. Megill has played 8 1/3 innings and has a 1.08 ERA with six strikeouts.

“Obviously it sucks to see one of your teammates go down because of this and I hope he gets back as quickly as possible and mostly healthy,” Peterson told reporters after he spent Tuesday four unsuccessful submissions. “But I think it has always been that way. The front office and the coaching staff wanted to have a starting pitching depth. They made it a priority. So, I think this is just the case when there are many to choose from.


Washington Nationals right-hander Horses are falling left his start after 2 2/3 innings. Following this, Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters that Cavalli felt something behind his throwing elbow.

Cavalli is expected to undergo an MRI.

The Nationals selected Oklahoma’s Cavalli with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 draft. The 24-year-old is considered one of the most promising players in the national team.


Mets returned right-handed pitcher Zach Green to the New York Yankees three months after drafting him in the Winter NHL Entry Draft.

The Yankees assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Green, 26, went 9-0 with a 3.42 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings for Scranton last season.


The Detroit Tigers demanded right-hander Freddie Pacheco from giving up the Cardinals.

Pacheco, who turns 25 on April 17, went 3-7 last season with a 3.05 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 62 innings on Double-A and Triple-A.

St. Louis scratched an infielder Paul DeJong of their composition due to tightness in the lower back.


Baltimore Orioles reassigned shortstop Jackson HollidayNo. 1 pick in the 2022 Draft to the minor league camp.

This spring, 19-year-old Holliday showed great promise. He played in 5 of 13 spring practice games with a .529 on-base and .991 OPS.


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