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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Cuba win baseball gold
Cuba celebrate
Cuba beat Australia 6-2 to win their third gold medal in Olympic baseball while earlier Japan routed Canada 11-2 in the bronze medal match.

Cuba's Frederich Cepeda hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning before Paul Gonzalez made it 2-1 in the fifth.

The Cubans then exploded for four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach of the Aussies.

Kenji Jojima hit a two-run homer and Tsuyoshi Wada struck out six batters in Japan's bronze medal romp.

Cuba pounded out 13 hits in their victory, including a two-run double by Eduardo Parent and a two-run single by Eriel Sanchez.

Australia, who stunned Japan 1-0 in the semi-finals, bagged a first ever baseball silver in defeat.

However, Australia could have made the game closer but for a questionable call in the bottom of the fourth.

With two on and two outs, Australia's Thomas Brice smashed a deep line drive that Cuban center fielder Carlos Tabares caught on the fence.

Brice was called out, but television replays showed the ball squirting out of Taberes' glove and bouncing off the wall before he regained control of it.

In the third-place play-off, Jojima put Japan ahead 2-0 in the first, driving a two-out homer off Mike Johnson while Takuya Kimura hit a two-RBI single as Japan scored four runs in the third.

Jojima added an RBI double to make it 7-0 in the fourth and finished with four RBIs as Japan collected 13 hits off six Canadian pitchers.

Wada allowed two runs on four hits and walked two and gave up a solo homer by Canada's Jeremy Ware in the fifth.

Despite their win, Japan will be disappointed their crack professional team failed to win the top prize in Athens.

Defending Olympic champions USA did not play in Athens after falling in an Olympic qualifying tournament.





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