SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba – Japan overturned a one-run deficit to defeat the United States 2-1 and maintain its flawless record in the preliminary round of the World Baseball Cup on Sunday.
After falling behind in the third inning at Guillermon Moncada stadium, Japan tied the game on a wild pitch in the fourth and Daisuke Kusano drove in the decisive run with a single in the seventh to give the Group B leader its sixth straight win.
It was the first defeat for the U.S. after five wins in a row. Japan wraps up the qualifying round against Mexico on Monday while the second-placed U.S. faces the Netherlands.
In other Group B games, third-placed Panama (4-2) blitzed China 17-1 while the Netherlands (3-3) beat Mexico 6-3 to virtually ensure itself a place in the quarterfinals.
In Group A, defending champion Cuba, winner of the last seven World Cups, swept aside Canada 8-0 for its fifth win in a row and Nicaragua edged South Korea 3-2 to qualify for the quarterfinals. The top four teams from Group A and Group B advance to the last eight of the Oct. 12-25 tournament.
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