The Associated Press


Cuba’s Yulieski Gourriel, right, embraces pitcher Norge Luis Vera to celebrate beating the U.S. team yesterday.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Ariel Pestano pounded his chest, pounded first base, then took a little celebratory walk to high-five his coach.

Same old Cuba.

The joyous display came after he drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning — and Pestano later homered as the Cubans won their ninth straight Pan American Games baseball gold medal, 3-1 over the United States last night.

Cuba beat the Americans in the 1999 Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 5-1.

“This is our gift to the Cuban people for all their support and inspiration they’ve given us since we’ve been here,” Pestano said. “Viva Cuba!”

Cuba coach Higinio Velez dedicated the win to Cuban President Fidel Castro as an early birthday present. Castro turns 77 today. Pestano also dedicated his heroics to his late mother, Raquel, who died of a heart attack in March at age 47.

U.S. reliever Huston Street had his hat in his teeth as dejected Americans draped their arms over the dugout railing and watched the Cubans celebrate on the mound.

Jered Weaver (4-1), the younger brother of pitcher Jeff Weaver of the New York Yankees, took his first loss of the summer and had his streak of scoreless innings end at 45-2/3. He allowed eight hits and struck out seven in eight innings.

“We can’t do much about what happened,” Weaver said. “I felt great. I threw good pitches. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear USA across your chest.”

Yulieski Gourriel’s RBI single in the sixth to tie the game broke Weaver’s scoreless-innings streak. Then the Cubans, who are professional players, tagged the tiring Weaver for three straight singles in the seventh. Pestano came to the plate with runners on the corners and no outs and drove a fastball to shallow center field.

The Americans, all collegians, finished their summer with a 27-2 record, the winningest season for a U.S. team.

Khan completes gold-medal quest

In squash, Latasha Khan of Seattle defeated Melanie Jans of Toronto 9-2, 9-5, 3-9, 9-6 to win the gold medal in women’s singles.

In team play, the U.S. women routed Colombia to advance to the semifinals.

U.S. sprinter Grimes tests positive for ephedrine

The United States lost two gold medals after sprinter Mickey Grimes failed a doping test.

Grimes was found to have excessive levels of ephedrine, a banned stimulant, and was stripped of his title in the 100-meter dash. He also led off the victorious 400 relay team that Games officials said will lose its gold.

“I understand that athletes need to take responsibility for everything we put in our bodies,” Grimes said in a statement released through the U.S. Olympic Committee. “I made a mistake and I know that my action carries with it a penalty.

“I sincerely regret letting down the U.S. delegation and my country, and I look forward to representing my country in the future.”

Grimes, of Los Angeles, had 13.7 micrograms per milliliter of ephedrine in his system; the legal limit is 10.

The 100-meter title goes to Jamaica’s Michael Frater.


The Americans swept all five swimming races.

Argentina will play Brazil for the gold medal in men’s soccer Friday. In the semifinal round, Argentina beat Colombia 2-1 in overtime and Brazil defeated Mexico 1-0.

The United States leads in medals with 186, including 79 gold.