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Olympics: Japan beats USA, wins first gold medal in baseball

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Japan totaled eight hits and held Team USA without a run in the gold medal baseball game at the 2020 Summer Games on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. Photo courtesy of WBSC
Japan totaled eight hits and held Team USA without a run in the gold medal baseball game at the 2020 Summer Games on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. Photo courtesy of WBSC

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Japan shut out Team USA 2-0 to claim its first-ever Olympic gold medal in baseball at the 2020 Summer Games on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.

Starting pitcher Masato Morishita allowed just three hits over five scoreless innings in the victory at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Tetsuto Yamada, Masataka Yoshida and Seeiya Suzuki recorded two hits apiece for Japan.

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Team USA shortstop Nick Allen went 3 for 4 in the loss. He was the only American with more than one hit.

Starting pitcher Nick Martinez allowed five hits and one run over six innings for the Americans.

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Neither team scored for the first two innings. Third baseman Munetaka Murakami smacked a solo homer to center field off Martinez to give Japan a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

Team USA totaled just two hits over the next three innings.

Japan designated hitter Tetsuto Yamada singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Yoshida singled two at-bats later. Yamada scored the game's final run on the play as a result of a wild throw to home by Team USA.

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Japan relief pitcher Ryoji Kuribayashi retired left fielder Jamie Westbrook with a strikeout and forced catcher Mark Kolozsvary to fly out in the first two at-bats in the top of the ninth.

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Allen smacked a two-out single to right field in the next at-bat, but the Americans couldn't continue the rally. Japan got the final out on a fielder's choice at second base.

Team USA claimed bronze at the 2008 Summer Games, the last time baseball was part of the Olympic program. The Americans won gold at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. Team USA won bronze at the 1996 Summer Games.

Japan placed fourth in 2008, won bronze in 2004 and 1992 and claimed silver in 1996.

The Dominican Republic beat South Korea 10-6 in the bronze medal game Saturday at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. The win gave the Dominican Republic its first ever Olympic medal in baseball.

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Greece's Paraskevi Papachristou competes during the triple jump qualifier on July 30. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

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