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Cuba Wins Baseball Gold Medal

Thursday, August 26, 2004; Page D13

With a relentless, balanced offense, Cuba rolled over upstart Australia, 6-2, to win the gold medal -- its third in four tries since the sport gained Olympic status.

The Cubans pounded out 13 hits, including a two-run home run by Frederich Cepeda, a two-run double by Eduardo Paret and a two-run single by Eriel Sanchez.

Cuba's Ariel Pestano and Yulieski Gourriel celebrate their 6-2 baseball gold medal game victory over Australia. (Arko Datta - Reuters)

_____ Day 13 _____
World champion Allen Johnson falls and is out of the 110-meter hurdles.
Austria's Kate Allen wins the women's triathlon with a late surge.
Wrestler Rulon Gardner wins a bronze medal.
Russia's Olga Slyusareva wins the women's cycling points race.
A windsurfer gives Israel its first Olympic gold.
The U.S. women's basketball team crushes Greece.
American Andre Dirrell advances to the boxing semifinals.
Cuba downs Australia to win baseball gold.
Brazil tops Spain for the gold in men's beach volleyball.
Russia's Yulia Pakhalina leads in the 3-meter springboard diving.

_____ More From The Post _____
Michael Wilbon: Marion Jones is right here, smack in the middle of Athens, and we miss her.
Mike Wise: Gardner retired in one of the finest traditions of sport.
Sally Jenkins: Van Chancellor has hit the jackpot as coach of the U.S. women's basketball team.
Soccer gold is the goal in the finale for Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett.
The U.S. men's basketball team faces a tall order in Spain.
Athens honors American winners with a kinder, gentler national anthem.

_____ On Our Site _____
Athens Snippets: We're ready for these Olympics to be over.

___ Wednesday's Medals Results ___
Women's 200
Women's 400 hurdles
Women's hammer
Gold-medal game
Beach Volleyball
Cycling (Track)
Men's madison
Men's keirin
Women's points race
Individual dressage
Men's mistral
Women's mistral
Synchronized Swimming
Over 105Kg
Wrestling (Greco-Roman)
Men's 55kg
Men's 66kg
Men's 84kg
Men's 120kg

_____ Multimedia _____
Audio: The Post's Barry Svrluga on women's triathlon.
Audio: Joanna Hayes sets an olympic record in the 100-meter hurdles.
Audio: Misty May and Kerri Walsh discuss their beach volleyball victory.

_____ Photos _____
Day 13
Photo galleries page

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Cuba had been expected to vie for the gold medal with a Japanese "dream team" stocked with top pros. But Australia stunned the favored Japanese, 1-0, in the semifinals, making the Aussies' first baseball medal a silver.

Openly frustrated by its loss, Japan routed Canada, 11-2, to win the bronze medal.

In the gold medal game, Cepeda opened the scoring in the fourth inning with his homer to right-center.

Australian left fielder Paul Gonzalez cut the margin to 2-1 with a leadoff homer in the fifth. It was the first run in the tournament off Cuban starter Norge Luis Vera, who had pitched 13 scoreless innings over three games, and it prompted Cuba to turn to its bullpen.

Relievers Vicyohandri Odelin and Adiel Palma walked the bases loaded. But with two outs and a full count, Australia's Brendan Kingman took a third strike from Palma, who pitched into the ninth and earned the victory.

Cuba put the game away in sixth, knocking out Australian starter John Stephens -- a Boston Red Sox farmhand -- with four straight singles, the last a smash by Sanchez that drove in two runs.

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