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Rays Defeat Cuba 4-1 In Historic Matchup



It was a historical moment that nobody could have ever imagined, a Major League Baseball team was taking the field in Havana against the Cuban National Team.

President Barack Obama and the First Family, Cuban President Raul Castro, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, MLB Executive Joe Torre and Retired New York Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter were all in attendance at this momentous occasion between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team at the famous Estadio Latinoamericano.

Although this game was to help bring two nations together as allies, it was also the first step in creating another way for talented Cuban players to enter the Major Leagues without suffering any consequences or traveling a dangerous journey to make it to the United States.

After nine historical innings, the Rays took the 4-1 win on Tuesday afternoon over the Cuban National Team. Tampa Bay had their own Cuban connection with outfielder Dayron Varona who made his first return to Cuba since leaving with his Mother years ago.

James Loney helped the Rays get on the board with a RBI single in the top of the second to send home Kevin Kiermaier for a 1-0 lead.

Loney then hit a two run homerun on a line drive to right field in the top of the fourth inning to increase the Rays’ lead to 3-0.

Tampa Bay tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh with a RBI single by Steve Pearce on a line drive to left field sending Mikie Mahtook home for the 4-0 lead.

The Cuban National Team was finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the ninth when Rudy Reyes hit a solo homer off of the Rays’ Alex Colome on a line drive to left field.

Rays’ starter Matt Moore worked six shutout innings on Tuesday afternoon in Havana, allowing six hits, walking one and striking out three. Moore also made a special gesture in regards to the President. Knowing that he wouldn’t be a part of the pre-game meet and greet with President Obama, Moore sent his glove with teammate Chris Archer as a gift.

Thirty-five year old Yosvani Torres took the start for the Cuban National Team, going just two and two thirds innings allowing two hits and one run, walking two and striking out two batters along the way.

The Tampa Bay Rays are already en route back to the United States and will take on the  Minnesota Twinsat CenturyLink Sports Complex in  Fort Myers on Wednesday afternoon at 1:05pm.

Bethany is a Graduate of the University of South Florida and currently resides in Tampa. She is a die-hard Yankees' fan and has been a freelance writer for six years. She has covered the Yankees' Minor League System since 2010 and also does freelance work for and CBS Local Tampa Bay. Follow her on Twitter @TampaBethany

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