YOKOHAMA, Japan — Tyler Austin and Triston Casas continued their powerful showings at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a pair of home runs, and the U.S. pitching staff delivered in the clutch for Team USA to defeat the Dominican Republic 3-1 at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on Wednesday.
With the win, Team USA advances to the semifinals on Thursday, August 5, at 7 p.m. JST/6 a.m. EDT/3 a.m. PDT. They will face the loser of the first semifinal between Japan and Korea with a spot in the gold medal game on the line.
The U.S. jumped on the Dominican Republic starter Denyi Reyes early when Casas got the red, white, and blue on the board courtesy of his tournament-leading third home run. With Austin on first base thanks to a one-out walk, he launched a 1-1 hanging breaking ball to deep center-field to give the stars and stripes an early 2-0 lead.
The U.S. held on to its two-run lead thanks to a strong showing from starting pitcher Scott Kazmir. After escaping a bases-loaded jam with one out in the top of the first inning, Kazmir retired 12 of the next 13 batters, including the last nine he faced, allowing just a lead-off double in the third inning.
Holding on to its two-run lead in the bottom half of the fifth inning, Austin came to the plate with two outs and laced the first pitch he saw to dead center, giving Team USA a 3-0 cushion.
The relievers took over from there and delivered in clutch moments. Brandon Dickson survived two fielding errors to pitch a hitless sixth inning, and Scott McGough escaped giving up two hits in the top of the seventh to keep the U.S. lead at three.
Anthony Gose pitched a perfect eighth inning before handing the game over to David Robertson in the ninth. Robertson picked up the first two outs but surrendered a solo home run and a free pass in back-to-back at-bats to bring the tying run to the plate. He would respond by striking out Yefri Perez to close out the game and securing the 3-1 victory and a spot in the semifinals.
Kazmir (1-0) earned the win for the stars and stripes, giving up just two hits, one walk, and striking out five batters in five innings. Robertson (2) was credited with his second save of the Olympic Games.
Offensively, the U.S. struggled on the day, collecting just three hits. Casas finished the day 1-for-3 with his two-run homer, and Austin picked up the other RBI on a 1-for-3 day with a solo shot and two runs scored. Eric Filia (1-for-2) was the only other American batter to collect a hit in the game with a single in the fourth inning.
The U.S. can play for a gold medal with a win on Thursday in the second semifinal. In its previous six Olympic Games baseball tournaments, Team USA has never failed to reach a medal game. The Dominican Republic was relegated into the bronze medal game follow the loss and will await the loser of the second semifinal.
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