Cuba 5, United States 3

Sunday, November 18th 2001, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Cuba avenged its loss in the gold medal game of last year's Olympics, beating the United States 5-3 on Sunday for the championship of the baseball World Cup.

The Cubans, 4-0 against the United States in World Cup title play and winners of the tournament for the 23rd time, went on top for good with a three-run eighth inning featuring a two-run single by German Mesa.

When Ben Broussard flied out with a runner on third to end the game, the Cuban team rushed out to the pitcher's mound, waving the national flag.

The game was a rematch of last year's gold medal game in the Sydney Olympics, which the United States won 4-0. The Cubans beat the United States 4-3 the last time the Americans made it to the tournament's championship in 1988.

Cuba took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Orestes Kindelan and moved to 2-0 on a third-innng double by Michel Enriquez.

The Americans scored in the third when Broussard's single drove in Matt Erickson and tied it in the fourth Matt Huckaby's single scoring Orlando Hudson.

But in the eighth, the Cubans loaded the bases before Rolando Merino drove in lead run with a sacrifice fly and Mesa followed with his two-run single.

Erickson's RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth pulled the Americans within two runs but Chris Snopek struck out and Broussard flied out.

Earlier Sunday, Chen Chin-feng hit two home runs as Taiwan upset Japan 3-0 and won the bronze medal.

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