Japan defeated Team USA 2-0 on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan, to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal in baseball at the 2020 Summer Games.
Masato Morishita, the starting pitcher, allowed just three hits in five scoreless innings of work at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Japan had two hits each from Tetsuto Yamada, Masataka Yoshida, and Seeiya Suzuki.
Shortstop for Team USA In the loss, Nick Allen went 3 for 4. He was the only American with multiple hits.
The Americans’ starting pitcher, Nick Martinez, gave five hits and one run over six innings.
For the first two innings, no team scored. In the bottom of the third, Japan’s third baseman Munetaka Murakami hit a solo home run to centre field against Martinez, giving Japan a 1-0 lead.
Over the next three innings, Team USA managed only two hits.
Tetsuto Yamada, Japan’s designated hitter, led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. Two at-bats later, Yoshida singled. Yamada scored the game’s final run on the play as a result of Team USA’s errant throw to home.
In the top of the ninth inning, Japan relief pitcher Ryoji Kuribayashi struck out left fielder Jamie Westbrook and caused catcher Mark Kolozsvary to fly out.
In the next at-bat, Allen hit a two-out single to right field, but the Americans were unable to extend the rally. Japan scored the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice at second base.
The United States won bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics, the last time baseball was included in the Olympic programme. The United States won gold at the Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000. At the Summer Games in 1996, Team USA took bronze.
Japan finished fourth in 2008, bronze in 2004, 1992, and silver in 1996.
The Dominican Republic defeated South Korea 10-6 in Saturday’s bronze medal game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. The victory was the Dominican Republic’s first Olympic medal in baseball.
Greece’s Paraskevi Papachristou competes during the triple jump qualifier on July 30. Photo by Richard Ellis