Josh Palacios hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning and Chadwick Tromp followed with a two-run single as the Netherlands beat Cuba 4-2 on Wednesday in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic at Taichung City, Taiwan.
The World Baseball Classic features 20 national teams divided into five-team groups for round-robin play in the opening round. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played March 15-16 in Tokyo and March 17-18 in Miami. The semifinals (March 19-20) and the final (March 21) will all be held in Miami.
The Dutch and the Cubans are in Pool A along with Taiwan, Italy and Panama, with all games to be played in Taichung City.
Palacios is a Pittsburgh Pirates minor league outfielder, and Tromp is a catcher in the Atlanta Braves' system.
Arizona Diamondbacks minor league right-hander Eric Mendez got the win for the Netherlands, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. Dutch starter Tom de Blok, a former Detroit Tigers minor league right-hander, tossed three innings of one-run ball.
Cuban starter Yariel Rodriguez struck out six in four innings while allowing just one run on three hits and a walk.
Pool B, with Japan, South Korea, Australia, China and Czech Republic, starts on Thursday in Tokyo. Pool C, featuring the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain, will begin Saturday in Phoenix, and Pool D, consisting of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel and Nicaragua, kicks off on Saturday in Miami.
--Field Level Media