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US downs Taipei; Korea beats '04 gold medalist Cuba

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The United States baseball team, coming off a heated victory over China that featured beanballs and ejections, doubled up Chinese Taipei for a 4-2 victory on Tuesday night at the Beijing Olympics.

The Americans, headed to the semifinals on Friday no matter the outcome of their final pool game on Wednesday, rallied behind three hits by Dexter Fowler and two from John Gall. Both players had an RBI.

"It felt good to contribute," said Gall.

Brandon Knight pitched 6 1/3 strong innings for the win, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Michael Koplove and Kevin Jepsen combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, closing out the game.

The U.S. improved to 4-2 with its third straight win, tied with Japan for third place in preliminary round play. The teams, scheduled to play on Wednesday, will make the semifinals along with unbeaten South Korea and 5-1 Cuba.

Chinese Taipei (1-5) will not play in the semifinals.

South Korea rallied for five runs in the fourth inning in a 7-4 victory over Cuba, also on Tuesday, to remain the only unbeaten team in pool play.

The South Koreans, behind two hits and two RBI from Ko Youngmin, improved to 6-0 in pool play heading into the final day of the preliminaries. It was their first win over Cuba in Olympic competition.

Cuba, meanwhile, suffered its first loss and dropped into second place behind South Korea at 5-1.

Pitching ace Norge Luis Vera, after beating Japan in Cuba's first game, threw two hitless innings on Tuesday and was spelled by Vicyohandry Odelin, who surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on three hits.

Cuban manager Antonio Pacheco said the result didn't cause him anxiety.

"Korea is a good team because they won all their previous games and they pitched well today," he said "But we tried different pitchers because the final stage is more important than today."

Also on Tuesday, Japan (4-2) rolled to a 10-0 victory over China (1-5) in a game stopped after seven innings because of the international run rule; and Canada (2-4) blanked the Netherlands (1-5) by a 4-0 score in a game with no significance on the way the semifinals shake out.

08/19 10:13:51 ET

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