YOKOHAMA, Japan — The U.S. fell short in an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel in the gold medal game of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, leaving nine runners on base in a 2-0 loss to host Japan at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Team USA finished the tournament with a 4-2 record and brought home the silver medal.
Four members of Team USA were named to the All-Olympic Team following Tokyo 2020, including second baseman Eddy Alvarez, designated hitter Tyler Austin, first baseman Triston Casas, and left-handed pitcher Anthony Gose. In addition to the four All-World honorees, Nick Allen earned the award for Best Defensive Player in the tournament.
Team USA got runners on base in seven innings on Saturday but could not corral the timely hit. Trailing 1-0 after a solo home run by Munetaka Murakami in the third inning, the U.S. threatened in the fifth with a two-out single by Allen and a Jack Lopez hit-by-pitch. But Japan would escape the two-out jam, which became the story of the night.
Austin led off the sixth inning with a walk, but Japan quickly retired Casas and Todd Frazier. Eric Filia was then hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Japan forced a foul-out to the catcher to keep the U.S. scoreless. In the seventh, Allen laced a one-out double to left-center to put a runner in scoring position, but back-to-back groundouts on only three pitches stranded him on base.
U.S. starting pitcher Nick Martinez and reliever Ryder Ryan kept the Japan offense to its lone run to this point in the game; however, a defensive miscue would add an insurance run to the home team’s lead in the eighth. A leadoff single to right field preceded a sacrifice bunt to put a runner in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the inning on reliever Scott McGough. Masataka Yoshida followed with a single to center that kept the runner at third base, but an errant throw from Lopez to home plate allowed Tetsuto Yamada to cross the plate, extending Japan’s lead to 2-0.
Down to its final out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Allen picked up his third hit of the night with a single to right-field in an attempt to rally; but, Japan forced a fielder’s choice groundout to second base on the very next pitch to end the game and claim the gold.
Martinez (1-1) had a strong outing for the U.S., keeping Japan to just one run in the gold medal game. He finished with seven strikeouts and gave up five hits and one run in six innings of work in the loss. Ryan came on in the seventh and struck out a batter in his one inning of relief, and McGough gave up an unearned run on a walk and two hits in the eighth inning. Masato Morishita earned the win for Japan while Ryoji Kuribayashi got the save.
Allen accounted for half the Team USA offense on the night, finishing 3-for-4 with a double. Alvarez (1-for-4), Austin (1-for-3), and Filia (1-for-3) were the only other U.S. players to tally a hit on the evening.
Austin was the lone member of Team USA to get a hit in every game of the Olympic Games tournament, finishing with a team-leading .417 batting average. Casas finished the tournament leading the entire field in RBIs (8) and tied for the most home runs (3).
After winning the silver medal, Alvarez became just the sixth athlete all-time to win an Olympic medal in both the Summer and Winter Games. He is the third American athlete to do so, following Eddie Egan (1920, 1932) and Lauryn Williams (2004, 2012, 2014).
The silver medal was Team USA’s second in its Olympic history, following a silver medal in the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games when baseball was a demonstration sport. USA Baseball now claims six Olympic medals in its history: two gold (1988*, 2000), two silver (1984*, 2020), and two bronze (1996, 2008).
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