Cuba break out the bats to down Japan at WBC

Alfredo Despaigne hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, helping Cuba defeat two-time defending champion Japan 6-3 Wednesday to finish first in Group A of the World Baseball Classic.

Both clubs have already advanced to next round

Cuba's Alfredo Despaigne broke his bat on this Masahiro Tanaka pitch in the fourth inning, but he later homered in the game at Fukuoka, Japan. (Koji Sasahara/Associated Press)

Alfredo Despaigne hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, helping Cuba defeat two-time defending champion Japan 6-3 Wednesday to finish first in Group A of the World Baseball Classic.

Despaigne's home run off reliever Takeru Imamura at Fukuoka Dome in Japan put the game out of reach and allowed Cuba to set up a second-round showdown with Group B runner-up the Netherlands on Friday.

Yasmany Tomas hit a solo homer to left in the bottom of the third to give Cuba a 1-0 lead. Frederich Cepeda doubled in another run in the fourth, and Jose Abreu made it 3-0 on a single to left in the sixth that scored Luis Rivera from third.

Japan, which scored three runs in the ninth, will face Group B winner Taiwan in the second round at Tokyo Dome.