United States wins Silver Medal in Tokyo 2020
07/08/2021 2 Minute Read

United States wins Silver Medal in Tokyo 2020

Japan won the baseball Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020 with a 2-0 win over the United States, who won the silver medal.

Japan won the baseball Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020 with a 2-0 win over the United States, who won the silver medal.

Behind a pitching staff shutout and a solo homer by Munetaka Murakami, this is the first Olympic gold medal for Japan, after obtaining silver in Atlanta 1996 and bronze in Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004. Japan became the fourth nation to win an Olympic gold medal, joining Cuba (1992, 1996, 2004). United States (2000) and Korea (2008).

Both starters had a strong outing at Yokohama Baseball Stadium, in front of a good crowd of volunteers, athletes from other sports and journalists. Masato Morishita and Nick Martínez engaged in an intense pitching duel, which kept the score low.

With one out in the bottom of the third, Japan scored the first run of the game. With two strikes on the count, third baseman Munetaka Murakami homered off the opposite side and gave Japan the lead in the game. It was only the second hit that American starter Martinez allowed.

An inning later, Japan loaded the bases with one out, but Martinez emerged unscathed from the inning. Yuki Yanagita grounded to third base, and Todd Frazier forced the runner into the plate for the second out of the inning, and then Ryosuke Kikuchi struck out for a third strike for the last out.

Morishita pitched five full scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. He was retired after 81 pitches and was credited with the victory.

He was replaced by Koudai Senga, who got into some trouble after walking Tyler Austin and Erick Filia with a pitch, but forced Jamie Westbrook to pinch fly to catcher, into foul territory.

In the top of the seventh, the United States put a running back in scoring position again. Nick Allen doubled with one out off Hiromi Itho, who replaced Senga to pitch the inning, putting the potential tying run at second base. But back-to-back grounders to the right side of the box by Jack Lopez and Eddy Alvarez finished the inning.

In the top of the eighth, the United States again hit a running back with Tyler Austin hitting a single to left field. Left-handed pitcher Suguru Iwazaki replaced Itoh on the mound and retired Triston Casas, Todd Frazier and Filia on the line to maintain the 1-0 lead.

Martinez worked six innings, allowing five hits and one run while he struck out seven, and Ryan Ryder pitched a seventh without allowing a touchdown.

Scott McGough took the ball in the eighth and Tetsuto Yamada received it with a single to right field. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and Masataka Yoshida singled to center field. Yamada was stopped at third, but American catcher Mark Kolozsvary was unable to catch the wild shot, allowing Yamada to resume his sprint and score one more run.

With a two-run lead, Ryoji Kuribayashi entered the game and retired the first two outs of the inning, and although Nick Allen singled to right field, right-hander finished the game with a groundout to second base.

The United States claimed its fourth baseball medal at the Olympics. They won gold at Sydney 2000 and bronze at Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008. The United States finished fourth in 1992 and did not qualify for the 2004 Olympics.

Earlier today, the Dominican Republic won the bronze medal in the 2020 Tokyo baseball competition.