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8-7 win earns Cuba top seed

Orestes Kindelan hit his Olympic tournament-record seventh homer Monday as Cuba beat Nicaragua 8-7 and headed into medals-round play undefeated.

Cuba (7-0) will be the top seed in medals-round play, which starts Thursday, with the United States second.

Nicaragua (4-3) has qualified, and the final berth is still open.

Pairings won't be decided until the final day of round-robin play today.

The Cubans set numerous offensive records in the round-robin tournament, led by Kindelan, a designated hitter who drove in a record 13 runs.

Cuba hit six more homers to finish the round-robin with 28, also a record. Cuba and Japan hit 12 each in the Barcelona Games.

Nicaragua, which qualified for medals-round play Sunday night, outhit Cuba 13-12 and kept the score tied into the eighth inning. Luis Ulacia doubled with two outs and Omar Linares singled to center for the final margin.

Linares also had two homers and drove in three runs, finishing with five homers and 10 RBI for the tournament.

"Our offense has been very good," Linares said. "I think we're going to be able to keep that up."

Nicaragua has had the best pitching in the tournament. The Nicaraguans have the only two shutouts and the lowest earned-run average.

Coach Darin Van Tassell used three pitchers Monday so he could rest his staff for the important games. They gave up six homers, but only 12 hits.

"It's not often that you can give up six homers and feel you had decent pitching," Van Tassell said. "But today, we felt that was the case.

"We played today the way we've been playing since we've been here. We've been as consistent as anyone in the tournament."

Nicaragua went up 7-5 on Julio Cesar Osejo's two-run homer in the fifth inning, but Linares and Kindelan hit solo homers in the bottom of the inning to tie it.

Meanwhile, Netherlands' reliever Paul Nanne, who has not allowed a run in the Olympics, induced a game-ending double play to preserve an 8-7 victory over Italy.

Italy (2-4) must beat Japan today to have a shot at the final berth in the medals round.

The Netherlands (2-4) scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take an 8-4 lead. But Marco Urbani hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning, and Claudio Liverziani drew a one-out walk.

Nanne, who has pitched 6 scoreless innings, came on and got Francesco Casolari to ground into the double play. Casolari had hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning.