Japan rally against bullpen to beat USA 7-6 in 10 innings



YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) – Brandon Dickson, a 36-year-old retired from the majors for nine seasons, was the first to come out of the box and the first to stumble.

Edwin Jackson, a 37-year-old freed by five big league teams, was the last.

Four of seven American relievers combined to give up five points as the United States lost a three-point lead in a 7-6 loss to Japan Monday night that pushed the Americans into an Olympic elimination loss.

“We played a good game tonight,” said US manager Mike Scioscia. “There were things that escaped us on the mound. “

Japan overcame a short exit from Masahiro Tanaka. Yuki Yanagita tied 6-6 with an RBI scorer in the ninth against Scott McGough and his Fukuoka teammate Takuya Kai hit a single winner in the 10th against Jackson (0-1) which put the hosts in the semifinals.

Suguru Iwazaki, Koudai Senga, Yasuaki Yamasaki, Yudai Ohno and Ryoji Kuribayashi (1-0) combined for 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The only fault against the bullpen of Japan was Triston Casas’ second home circuit, a three-point drive in the fifth. This gave the United States a 6-3 lead over Koyo Aoyogi, who allowed five hits in one set.

“They are talented guys. They can go out there and compete with the best of them, ”said US forward Tyler Austin in his second season with Yokohama after four seasons in the major leagues.

David Robertson, a 36-year-old former closer, blocked a runner in third place in ninth by hitting Ryosuke Kikuchi on a curve ball into the dirt.

Scioscia brought in McGough, a 31-year-old former Miami reliever with 16 saves in his third season with the Central League’s Yakult Swallows. He beat Seiya Suzuki with one out as the rain started to fall, then gave Hideto Asamura a single who put the riders into the corners. Yanagita’s helicopter in second drove into a race.

“David was looking for a couple of things,” Scioscia said. “Scott knows these hitters and can get through the middle of the lineup. We have great confidence in this guy. He just missed a few shots that changed the complexion of this ninth inning.

Under tournament rules, extra innings start with runners first and second, an even more extreme distortion than the Major League Baseball second-place runner rule used since the start of the 2020 pandemic season.

Kuribayashi struck out Todd Frazier, Eric Filia and Mark Kolozsvary in order in the top 10.

Pinch hitter Ryoya Kurihara sacrificed Jackson (0-1), a veteran of a 14-team major league record. Kai, who came in in the ninth after the starting receiver left for a pinch hitter, lined up the next pitch over the five-man infield and the right-field wall.

Neither McGough nor Jackson came to the interview room after the game.

Japan (3-0) will face South Korea (3-1) on Wednesday night for a place in the final.

The United States (2-1) fell into the category of second-round double-elimination losers. To reach this weekend’s final, he must win on Wednesday when he faces the winner of Tuesday’s playoff game between the Dominican Republic (1-2) and Israel (1-3), then again Thursday against the Japan-South Korea loser.

Tanaka allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings, entering the Olympics for the first time since pitching seven scoreless innings in 2008 as part of a staff including Yu Darvish.

Frazier, Tanaka’s former Yankees teammate, clinched a fourth place in three points with an RBI brace.

“Yes, he’s a good friend of mine off the pitch,” Tanaka said through a translator. “However, once you start playing it doesn’t matter. So it was really me who thought to bring him out.

Kolozsvary and No.9 hitter Nick Allen follow Frazier with RBI singles.

Tanaka, a 32-year-old right-hander, naturally wore stripes but with a J on his cap rather than a nested NY. He left the Yankees after seven seasons last winter to return to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League.

“There was no offer or opportunity that exceeded my motivation to want to play in Japan,” he said.

Tanaka declined to repeat comments he made on Twitter in March that an incident occurred in Florida after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that made his family feel in danger, which has was interpreted to imply that they had sensed anti-Asian racism.

“I’ve dealt with it before, so I really have nothing to say here,” he said. “And also when it comes to racism, it’s a very sensitive topic, but I think it’s definitely something that certainly shouldn’t happen regardless of nationality, ethnicity.”

Host Japan, chasing their first baseball gold, ousted Tampa Bay prospect Shane Baz in third. Hauato Sakamoto, the 2019 Central League MVP, doubled down on a catchable ball that Bubba Starling failed to find as he crashed into the center field wall, and the League’s batting champion. Pacific 2020 Masataka Yoshida and 2015 Pacific League MVP Yanagita had RBI singles around a pair of walks.

Starling left in the middle of the fourth due to dizziness.

Sakamoto tied 3-3 in the fourth against Dickson with his second brace, a blow to the 16-foot left field wall.

Japan closed at 6-5 in the fifth against Carter when Suzuki, the 2019 Japanese Home Run Derby champion, crushed a home run, Asamura doubled up and Ryosuke Kukichi hit a single in the infield.

“Our fate is still in our hands,” said Scioscia, “so it’s encouraging.”


Former major league outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, who played for Baltimore and Philadelphia in 2016-17, capped a seven-run fifth with a two-run homer from lefty Jeremy Bleich, 34, an advanced scouting assistant from Pittsburgh who retired as a professional player in 2019.

Kim scored her second brace of the game with two strikeouts in the seventh against right-hander Shlomo Lipetz, 42, who will return to his day job at New York City Winery after the Olympics. Soo scored on Hye-seong Kim’s single, making it the first game of the tournament cut short under an Olympic rout rule.

Ji-hwan Oh hit a two-run homer in the second period as South Korea led 3-0. Baek-ho Kang had four of South Korea’s 18 hits.

After Danny Valencia’s goal-laden march reduced the lead to 3-1 in the fifth, Sang-woo Cho (1-0) struck out Ryan Lavarnway on a late inning liner to the pitcher.

South Korea opened the game in the lower half against Chicago Cubs minor leaguer Alex Katz, who was charged with six runs – five earned – in the third inning.

Joey Wagman (0-2), released from the Oakland Farm System in 2018, faced 22 batters and allowed three runs, 10 hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.


More AP: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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