The United States is closing in on its second Olympic baseball championship.
Red Sox prospect Triston Casas hit a two-run dwelling run and former Yankee Tyler Austin added a solo shot Wednesday because the U.S. beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 in Yokohama, Japan, to maneuver one win away from the gold medal recreation on the Tokyo Olympics.
The Americans will proceed to claw their approach towards gold on Thursday after they face South Korea in the semifinal. The South Koreans misplaced 5-2 to Japan in Wednesday’s different recreation because the host nation — the one undefeated crew in the sector — moved into Saturday’s gold medal recreation.
Should the United States (which blew a three-run lead and fell simply brief to Japan in additional innings on Monday) lose to South Korea, it should battle it out with the Dominican Republic for bronze earlier Saturday.
Twins prospect Joe Ryan is predicted to be the beginning pitcher for the U.S. on Thursday. Shortly after he was traded from Tampa Bay to Minnesota, Ryan was named to Team USA’s Olympic roster and made his first begin on the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier. In that recreation, Ryan struck out 10 Dominican Republic batters, permitting three runs on 4 hits over 4 ²/₃ innings of a no-decision in an eventual 8-6 victory.
The U.S. defeated South Korea 4-2 in the Group B opening spherical on July 31, with Casas going 1-for-4 with two RBIs. South Korea then went on to select up convincing wins over the Dominican Republic in Round 1 and Israel in Round 2, outscoring each opponents by a mixed 15-4, earlier than shedding to Japan in the semifinal.
The final time baseball was an Olympic sport, 2008 in Beijing, the South Koreans gained the gold medal. That identical 12 months, Japan misplaced to the U.S. in the bronze medal recreation.
South Korea has posted sturdy pitching all through the match. Heading into its matchup with Japan Wednesday, the crew’s 3.44 ERA ranked second in the sector behind the U.S.
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The United Sates has solely gained Olympic gold as soon as, in the 2000 Sydney Games, after they defeated Cuba 4-0. Now, they’re simply two wins away from undertaking the identical feat.
Against the Dominican Republic, veteran southpaw Scott Kazmir, a first-round draft choose of the Mets in 2002, pitched 5 scoreless innings to close down a loaded lineup that options former MLB All-Stars Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera. Kazmir held the D.R. to only two hits and a stroll, hanging out 5 of the 19 batters he confronted in his first look since a July 18 exhibition recreation.
Kazmir (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the primary. The 37-year-old retired 14 of his closing 15 batters round Bautista’s leadoff double in the third inning.
“I felt like I still had a lot in me,” Kazmir stated.
After Kazmir got here out, the Americans acquired for scoreless innings of aid from Brandon Dickson, Scott McGough, Anthony Gose and former Yankee David Robertson.
Austin, a former main leaguer taking part in in his dwelling ballpark of the Central League’s Yokohama Bay Stars, hit a solo dwelling run in the fifth off Gabriel Arias. It was his second homer of the match, to go along with a .412 common and 5 RBIs.
Casas, a 21-year-old first baseman at Portland, Maine, homered — off his Red Sox Double-A teammate Denyi Reyes — following a one-out stroll to Austin in the primary. Cassas is batting .313 with eight RBIs in the Olympics.
“At the end of the tournament,” Casas stated, “nobody’s going to remember really how many home runs I hit or how many runs I drive in. It’s just whether we came home with that gold.”