Meulens’ Double Leads Netherlands to Upset of Cuba

From Associated Press

After 21 Olympic games, the mighty Cubans finally struck out.

Cuba took its first Olympic baseball loss today, shut down by a Netherlands team that had never experienced such a moment. Hensley Meulens’ bases-loaded double drove in three runs and the Netherlands held on for a 4-2 victory.

It was a watershed in Olympic baseball history. Cuba (3-1) had breezed through the first two official tournaments, winning the gold in Barcelona and Atlanta while going unbeaten.

A team spiced with a few former major leaguers and managed by Arizona State Coach Pat Murphy finally took them down in front of a crowd pulling for the upset.


Ken Brauckmiller held the Olympics’ top lineup to seven hits in eight innings, leaving to a standing ovation after Miguel Caldes reached on a throwing error to open the ninth.

The Cubans were undone by one inning climaxed by a former major leaguer who wears weird-looking sunglasses and is known as “Bam Bam.”

Meulens, who got the nickname as a minor league prospect in the 1980s, doubled to left off reliever Maels Rodriguez for a 4-1 lead in the fourth, stunning the Cubans.

Cuba 6, South Korea 5--The Cubans had survived one close call the night before, rallying from a four-run deficit on Juan Manrique’s tiebreaking homer in the eighth.


Korea (1-2) stunned the Cubans by pulling ahead 4-0 after four innings. The Cubans’ high-powered offense, which came into the game batting .467, managed only two hits in the first five innings off Kim Soo-kyung.

The Cubans sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs in a fist-pumping sixth inning that started with walks to Omar Linares and Orestes Kindelan, the heart of their order. Antonio Pacheco drove both of them home with a double.

Japan 6, Italy 1--Japan had 12 hits, three by first baseman Yukio Tanaka, to improve to 3-1.