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Canada Upsets US in World Baseball Classic

Canada has upset the United States, 8-6, in the opening round of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

Adam Stern hit an inside-the-park home run, drove in four runs and made two sensational catches in center field Wednesday in Phoenix, Arizona. American Jason Varitek hit a grand slam home run (a home run with three players on base) to help bring the United States back from an 8-0 deficit. But the fifth inning rally fell short and the U.S. team could not score again.

Canada improves to 2-0 in Pool-B while the United States is 1-1 and must beat South Africa on Friday to stay in contention. Even then, the Americans are not assured of advancing to the second round. If Mexico, Canada and the United States each finish with a 2-1 record, the tie would be broken by fewest runs allowed per inning.

Earlier in Pool-C, Cuba survived a late Panama rally and beat the Central Americans, 8-6, in 11 innings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cuban Yuliesky Gourriel drove in four runs for the nine-time defending World Cup champion with a two-run home run, a double and a sacrifice fly.

Cuba plays the Netherlands on Thursday and Puerto Rico on Friday. Panama, which is eliminated with two losses, plays its final game against the Netherlands on Friday.