Baseball |  The Japanese were crowned champions

Baseball | The Japanese were crowned champions

(Yokohama) Japan eventually won baseball gold at the Olympics.



Ronald blum
The Canadian Press

Munetaka Murakami hit a home run in the third round, and that was enough for Japan, who defeated the USA 2-0 in the gold game at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

Masato Morishita and four relievers limited the American hitters to six hits.

Hundreds of people, who appeared to be mostly volunteers, cheered on Japan at Yokohama Stadium, which has a maximum capacity of 34,000 spectators.

Baseball | The Japanese were crowned champions

PHOTO ISSEI KATO, REUTERS

The United States, which introduced baseball to Japan in 1872, did not have access to players on the 40-player lists of major baseball teams, while Japan relied on its best in local professional leagues.

Japan was also deprived of a few stars that developed in North America.

Murakami slammed a shot from Nick Martinez (1-1) over the wall to the left midfield.

Japan added an unpaid insurance run in the eighth, when Masataka Yoshida hit a single against the relief Scott McGough and midfielder Jack Lopez threw his throw over the home plate. This error allowed Tetsuto Yamada to score.

The United States suffered a second loss in six days against Japan, which had won 7-6 in 10 rounds on August 2.

Morishita (2-0) allowed only three hits in five innings.

Ryoji Kuribayashi gave Nick Allen a single after two strikeouts in the ninth. However, Lopez followed with a grounding to second base.

Japanese players celebrated around the mound. Manager Atsunori Inaba was thrown into the air by his players, who also greeted the spectators.

Baseball | The Japanese were crowned champions

PHOTO JORGE SILVA, REUTERS

Baseball was on the Olympic program for only the sixth time, and the first since 2008.

Japan had a silver and two bronzes to its name. His collection is finally finished.

Earlier Saturday, the Dominican Republic won bronze.

Juan Francisco broke the deadlock with a two-way double in the eighth round and the Dominicans defeated South Korea 10-6.

Francisco had beaten a homerun in a four-round first round for the Dominican Republic, which fled with the victory thanks to a five-round eighth round.

Melky Cabrera secured four balls for the Dominicans, who took their first Olympic medal in baseball.

South Korea, the gold medalist in 2008, took a 6-5 lead after a five-round fifth round. Kang Beak-Ho gave the team the lead with a single.

Oh (2-1), however, sabotaged the teammates’ lead for the second time during the tournament.

Jeison Guzman and Erick Mejia both hit singles in the eighth round and Julio Rodríguez passed away. A poor pitch from Oh helped Dominican Republic level the score.

Francisco had been knocked out in his last three strikes, but he solved himself by slamming a double along the field to the left midfield to drive the Dominicans forward 8-6. Johan Mieses followed with a long two-run ball.

Cristopher Mercedes (1-0) closed the South Koreans for three and a third round to register the victory.

Jumbo Díaz took over when there were two riders on the slopes and no withdrawal in the ninth heat. He struck out three hits in a row to save.

It was the last baseball tournament at the Summer Olympics before the Los Angeles Games, in 2028.

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