The United States fell to Japan in extra innings early Monday morning in the second round of Olympic baseball at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Takua Kai hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth inning that plated Yuki Yanagita and secured the host nation a 7-6 win and advancement to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket.
Olympic baseball took Major League Baseball’s extra innings rule and added a twist to it. Instead of just starting the inning with a runner on second, it also added a runner on first to put two on to start each inning. The US could not plate a runner in the top of the inning. Todd Frazier struck out, Eric Filia hit into a fielder’s choice that moved a runner to third, and Marl Kolozsvary flew out to end that inning.
First baseman Tristan Casas led the way for Team USA, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The US jumped out to a one-run lead in the fourth and a three-run lead in the fifth, but the pitching struggled. Shane Baz only lasted 2.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks. Brandon Dickson gave up one run over 1.1 innings and Anthony Carter gave up two more while only getting one batter out.
Japan sent out veteran Masahiro Tanaka. He lasted 3.2 innings giving up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six. Koyo Aoyagi got lit up for three runs on five hits over an inning before Koudai Senga, Yasuaki Yamasaki, Yudai Ohno, and Ryoji Kuribayashi shut down Team USA the final five innings.
The USA remains alive in the double elimination bracket. They will face the winner of Tuesday’s loser’s bracket matchup between the Dominican Republic and Israel.