Fabio Murakami of Brazil celebrates after scoring a run in Brazil’s 4-2 win against Cuba at the Pan American Games. (Photo Courtesy WBSC Americas)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
World No. 24 Brazil beat No. 8 Cuba 4-2 and remains undefeated at 3-0 at the 2023 Pan American Games.
Brazil and Panama, at 3-0, are the only undefeated teams remaining at the 2023 Pan American Games.
Brazil’s pitching staff at the 2023 Pan American Games has thrown 23 innings, with opposing hitters batting .271 against them, and have allowed just eight earned runs, 18 hits, 10 walks, and 22 strikeouts with a 2.43 ERA prior to the start of the super round.
Cuba had three defensive errors during Tuesday’s loss and mustered just three hits offensively against Brazil’s pitching staff.
In the top of the second inning, Brazil right fielder Ariel Frigo reached on a fielding error by Cuba shortstop Roberto Baldoquin and left fielder Fabio Murakami plated the first run for Brazil.
Cuba starting pitcher Jose Rodriguez threw four innings allowing three hits, no earned runs, one walk and one strikeout.
During the top of the fifth inning, Brazil designated hitter Salomon Koba singled up the middleand first baseman Victor Coutinho came in to score to extend the lead to 2-0.
Cuba pitching coach Pedro Lazo went to relief pitcher Renner Rivero during the top of the fifth inning to replace Erly Casanova.
The next batter, Brazil left fielder Fabio Murakami, poked an RBI single through the left side of the infield and center fielder Paulo Orlando came in to score to make it 3-0.
A few moments later, second baseman Lucas Rojo roped a double to left-center field and Murakami came in to score the fourth run of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Brazil starting pitcher Felipe Marcondes was injured when Cuba catcher Andrys Perez ripped a line drive comebacker off Marcondes’ left foot and had to be taken out of the game.
Felipe Martins, a reporter from Tailgate Zone Brazil, told World Baseball Network through WhatsApp, “there were no structural damages in Marcondes foot from the line drive.”
Marcondes threw 4.2 innings before being taken out of the game and did not allow a hit, including no earned runs, walking three batters, and striking out three. Brazil manager Ramon Ito called on relief pitcher Andre Rienzo out of the bullpen.
Cuba did not score until the bottom of the sixth inning when third baseman Dayan Garcia tripled into the right-center field gap, scoring designated hitter Yurisbel Gracial to cut the lead to 4-1.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Brazil reliever Enzo Sawayama faced the first two batters of the inning , allowing a single to Cuba first baseman Raul Gonzalez and then walking pinch hitter Yasniel Gonzalez.
Brazil’s Eric Taniguchi came on to try to close out the game, and he got Cuba second baseman Yadil Mujica to hit into a 3-6-3 double play to end it.
Brazil has never had three wins at the Pan American Games or an intercontinental senior event prior to this tournament.
Brazil’s pitching staff combined to allow three hits, two earned runs, six walks, and four strikeouts in Tuesday’s win.
Cuba did not have starting shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena in Tuesday’s loss against Brazil due to a fever. Arruebarruena left from Santiago, Chile, to go back to Havana early.
“First of all, he is a diabetes type 1 diagnostic. The day he arrived at the Pan-Am village, he complained of symptoms on the side of his right arm. We evaluated him collectively and decided to start anti-inflammatory treatment. However, these symptoms did not improve satisfactorily over the last 24 hours. We decided collectively for him to not play and pay attention to his diabetes. He will return to his place of residency to continue treatment,” Cuba athletic medical trainer Dr. Pablo Castillo told JIT La Actualidad del Deporte Cubano about Arruebarruena’s health. His comments were translated from Spanish.
Brazil qualified for the 2023 Pan American Games by beating Argentina 2-0 in the 2022 South American Baseball Championship in July 2022 in Lima, Peru.
Brazil has not won multiple games at an intercontinental senior event since the 2005 Baseball World Cup, when they beat South Africa and Sweden in Pool A of that tournament. Brazil has not appeared in the Pan American Games since they were the host nation with the event that took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.
This is the first time that Brazil is appearing in an intercontinental senior event tournament since appearing in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, though they did play in the 2017 and 2023 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.
Cuba did not qualify for the super round of the 2023 Pan American Games and will play in the 5th place game on October 26 against No. 9 ranked Dominican Republic at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park.
Cuba has not won the gold medal at the Pan American Games since 2007 and has not medaled at the tournament since winning the bronze medal in 2015.
Brazil will play on October 25 against No. 12 ranked Panama at 2 p.m. EDT at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park.
Each nation that is in the Super Round with Colombia, Brazil, Panama, and Mexico will play from October 25-27.
The gold medal and bronze medal game will be on Saturday, October 28.
2023 Pan American Games Schedule
All start times are Eastern Daylight Time
All Games will be played at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park
Wednesday, October 25
8:30 a.m. EDT – 7th Place Game – Chile vs. No. 6 Venezuela
2 p.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 23 Brazil vs. No. 12 Panama
Thursday, October 26
8:30 a.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 3 Mexico vs. No. 15 Colombia
2 p.m. EDT – 5th Place Game – No. 8 Cuba vs. No. 9 Dominican Republic
Friday, October 27
8:30 a.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 15 Colombia vs. No. 12 Panama
2 p.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 3 Mexico vs. No. 23 Brazil
Saturday, October 28
8:30 a.m. EDT – Bronze Medal Game
2 p.m. EDT – Gold Medal Game