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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 19:40 GMT 20:40 UK
Canada humbled by Japan
Japanese rightfielder Kosuke Fukudome
Japan routed previously unbeaten Canada 9-1 to leave the sides level on top of baseball's preliminary table.

Yoshinobu Takahashi and Kazuhiro Wada hit two-run homers and Takahashi drove in three runs to lead an 11-hit Japanese assault.

Winning pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada gave up three hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one.

Cuba beat the Netherlands 9-2 to join Japan and Canada atop the table, while Australia beat Greece 11-6.

Cuba's game against Canada on Saturday now takes on extra importance with the top four teams in the eight-nation event advancing to the play-off round.

Australia stand alone in fourth, a game ahead of Taiwan and the Netherlands with two games remaining.

Earlier, Italy edged Taiwan 5-4 in a thrilling encounter courtesy of two home runs in the bottom inning.

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