TOKYO (AP) — Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer to lead the Netherlands over Cuba 6-2 Friday in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Curt Smith homered and Andrelton Simmons added an RBI single to give the Netherlands a 2-0 lead in the second inning while chasing Cuba starter Ismel Jimenez, who allowed five hits in 1 2-3 innings.
Schoop's sixth-inning drive into the left-field stands at the Tokyo Dome gave the Netherlands a 5-1 cushion in the first game of the second round in Asia.
Two-time defending champion Japan defeated Tawain 4-3 in 10 innings Friday. Cuba must defeat Taiwan on Saturday to have a chance to advance to the final round in San Francisco on March 17-19.
Netherlands starter Diego Markwell earned the win, allowing one run and nine hits over six innings.
"This was a huge win for us," Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. "We had a plan to attack and the guys executed it well. Jonathan had a big game with a three-run homer and another run in the eighth. The guys hit the ball well."
Alfredo Despaigne homered in the second inning to give Cuba its first run. Yulieski Gourriel went deep in the seventh to cut the deficit to 5-2.
"We hit into five double plays and that caused a lot of trouble for us," Cuba manager Victor Mesa said. "We gave a three-run homer in the sixth and that was big. We had a lot of runners on base but couldn't score."