Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Team USA advanced to the Olympic semifinals in men's baseball on Wednesday by defeating the Dominican Republic with a pair of home runs and solid defensive play.
The Americans won 3-1 at Yokohama Baseball Stadium, with pitcher Scott Kazmir, 37, throwing five scoreless innings for the win and homers coming off the bats of Triston Casa, 21, and Tyler Austin, 29.
Charlie Valerio got the Dominicans on the board late with a solo home run, but it wasn't enough to spark a ninth-inning rally.
The game seemed tilted towards the Domincan Republic early on, with Kazmir giving up his first of two hits in his five innings to Erik Mejia, who doubled to left field.
Mejia then made it to third base on a hit by Julio Rodriguez that center fielder Patrick Kivlehan misplayed, putting two men on base with only one out. Kazmir then walked Juan Francisco to load the bases.
The Americans however, were able to neutralize the threat with some defensive work, throwing out Mejia at home on a soft hit by Johan Mieses before Melky Cabrera grounded out to third.
In the bottom of the first, Casas hit a bomb of a home run, his third of the Olympics, scoring Austin to give Team USA an early 2-0 lead that would be maintained until the fifth when Austin would hit his own solo homer.
Kazmir would only give up two hits on a total of 78 pitches. Four American relievers scattered three hits, including the Valerio home run off of David Robertson, who was awarded the save.
The Americans will next play on Thursday against the loser of the game between South Korea and Japan on Wednesday night.