World Baseball Classic: Netherlands tops Cuba in opener


The first World Baseball Classic game in six years hit the diamond in Taichung, Taiwan as Cuba and the Netherlands opened play in baseball’s marquee worldwide competition.

The two teams entered the tournament as favorites to advance in Pool A, which also includes Chinese Taipei, Panama and Italy. Cuba struck first but the Netherlands hit hardest, securing a 4-2 decision for their fourth consecutive victory in a WBC opener. 

Here are the best plays from the game!

Netherlands 4, Cuba 2


Out of the jam!

Cuba built some early momentum on Netherlands starting pitcher Tom de Blok by loading the bases in the first inning. But de Blok escaped trouble by coaxing a needed double-play ball up the middle to get out of the inning.

Tom de Blok, Netherlands get out of bases-loaded jam with impressive double-play sequence against Cuba

Tom de Blok and the Netherlands were able to get out of a sticky situation in the first inning, thanks to an impressive double-play sequence against Cuba.

Sound the horns!

The WBC site was a neutral location for both teams, but that didn’t take away from the crowd’s energy in the slightest. And when baseball hits the global stage, you’ll see and hear all kinds of new things. For example: the strikeout horn. 

First of many!

There will be plenty of runs scored during this WBC, but there’s only one first! The first RBI of the event belonged to Yadil Mojica, who plated Yoelkis Guibert with a screaming liner down the right field line.

Yadil Mujica helps Cuba strike first with RBI double against the Netherlands

Yadil Mujica helped Cuba off to a fast start, thanks to a RBI double against the Netherlands in the second inning. 

Just missed it

Former Padre Jurickson Profar has a propensity for hitting balls far, but this deep shot that would’ve tied the game barely missed the outfield fence.


With a runner in scoring position, Didi Gregorius came up with a clutch single in the bottom of the third to tie the game.

Didi Gregorius’ RBI-single helps the Netherlands get level with Cuba

Didi Gregorius smacked a RBI single in the third inning to help the Netherlands tie the game against Cuba. 

Stretching for it

Bogaerts is known more for his offense than defense, but he flashed his glove at short with a pretty scoop and side-armed throw to beat the runner to the bag. Check out the impressive stretch from Gregorius at first.


In tournament baseball, it’s the little breaks, not the big explosions that generally are the difference. With that, the Netherlands’ Josh Palacios found green grass up the middle in the bottom of the sixth to give his team the lead.

Hit ‘em where they ain’t

Like we said, the little breaks. This two-RBI hit from Chadwick Tromp wasn’t pretty, but it accomplished what it needed to, putting the Netherlands up 4-1 heading into the top of the seventh.

Netherlands grabs a 4-1 lead against Cuba

The Netherlands’ offense showed up in the sixth inning, thanks to Josh Palacios and Chadwick Tromp’s RBI single.

Cuba responded with a run of its own, but the Netherlands’ bullpen hung tough to win the matchup, 4-2.

Bogaerts makes ridiculous 360 play to seal Netherlands’ WBC opener win

Xander Bogaerts placed the icing on the cake, as his impressive throw helped the Netherlands pick up a 4-2 victory against Cuba.

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