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Cuba beats USA in 11 innings; China shocks Taiwan

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Michel Enriquez lined the go-ahead two-run single in the 11th inning, and Cuba beat the United States, 5-4, in a hotly- contested baseball game at the Olympics.

Jayson Nix belted a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to force extra innings, but was hit in the left eye by a fouled bunt attempt in the bottom of the 11th inning and was sent to a hospital with an eye injury.

Terry Tiffee went 2-4 with a run and an RBI to lead the U.S. offense, but the Americans fell to 1-2 with a game upcoming against Canada on Saturday.

Alfredo Despaigne hit a solo homer for Cuba, which has lost only three games in Olympic baseball history.

The U.S. gave the Cubans a run for their money though on Friday, but both teams had to adjust to a new rule for international play. Beginning in the 11th inning both teams start with runners at first and second base, something that didn't sit well with Tiffee.

"The whole extra inning thing is bogus," said Tiffee.

Cuba used a sacrifice bunt to put both of its runners into scoring position before Enriquez came through against Jeff Stevens.

Then in the bottom half, Nix left the field with a bloody eye after fouling off a ball. He was replaced by Brian Barden, who sacrificed the runners over before Tiffee lofted a sacrifice fly. But Matt Brown fouled out behind the plate to end the game.

"The only thing is that I'm not confident with how the game ended," said USA manager Davey Johnson. "I lost my second baseman when the pitcher (Pedro Luis Lazo) threw the ball at his head. I don't see any place for that in baseball. I respect the way Cuba plays baseball, but I don't like losing players."

The outcome aside, several players weren't happy with the extra-inning rule.

"It takes all the work out of baseball because all you need is a base hit and you've got a good shot to win," said USA shortstop Jason Donald. "Normally you get a guy on first and battle to get home. It was strange running out to second from the dugout. I've never done that in my life and probably never will again."

As for Nix, he's out the remainder of the Games. He sustained a laceration to the upper left eyebrow. The cut was repaired and he was treated with eyedrops.

The extra-inning rule also applied to China's 8-7 upset of Taiwan in 12 innings. The Chinese scored five times in their last at-bat to shot their opponent.

The visitors tied the game in the ninth inning with a ground-rule double to left-center field and then scored four times in the 12th. However, China loaded the bases in the bottom half before Wang Chao singled in a run. A walk with the bases loaded forced in another run. Hou Fenglian then singled, and when right fielder Chang Chien-Ming misplayed the ball, Sun Lingfeng charged toward home plate to score the winning run for China.

Also Friday, Japan beat the Netherlands, 6-0, and Korea edged Canada, 1-0.

08/15 11:10:26 ET


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