|United States 4, Japan 3 (11)
South Korea 10, Netherlands 0 (8)
Cuba 17, China 1 (7)
Taiwan 6, Canada 5 (12)
|South Korea vs. Japan, 10:30 p.m.
vs. Cuba, 6 a.m.
Team USA Update: It was a game neither team had to win, and maybe neither team wanted to win, but the U.S. pulled out a one-run victory over Japan, winning 4-3 in 11 innings. The game was actually scoreless until the speed-up rules kicked in starting in the 11th, as Brian Barden (Cardinals), Matt Brown (Angels), Nate Schierholtz (Giants) and John Gall (Marlins) all had RBIs. Casey Weathers (Rockies) worked out of a bases-loaded jam to pick up the save.
Noting: South Korea finished off its perfect round-robin run with an easy win over an outgunned Netherlands team. Yong-Kyu Lee went 4-for-4 and Dae-Ho Lee and Taek-Keun Lee each homered for South Korea. Won-Sam Jang held Netherlands to four hits in the complete-game shutout. As a team the Netherlands hit .167 for the tournament and scored just nine runs in seven games . . . Cuba took out any frustration it had in failing to garner the top seed by destroying China, 17-1, in a game that was called after seven innings. Third baseman Michel Enriquez was 4-for-4 with three RBIs, and right fielder Alexei Bell was 3-for-3 with two RBIs for Cuba, but it’s hard to single anyone out in a game where Cuba had 20 hits. China’s two hits included a pinch-hit triple by Delong Jia . . . Canada’s rough Olympics ended on a down note, as it fell in 12 innings to Taiwan. Chih-Hsien Chang’s 12th inning single was the difference as Taiwan wrapped up fifth place in the tournament. Canada’s final game was the last game of Stubby Clapp’s career, which merits this link . . . While the U.S. has four hitters who are topping .300, Mike Hessman (Tigers) has struggled mightily. The third baseman is hitting .111 (2-for-18) and has nine strikeouts in 18 at-bats.
News: South Korea battered Dutch lefthander Alexander Smit (Reds) for six runs and eight hits in five innings . . . It was a rough Olympics for Red Sox prospect Che-Hsuan Lin, but he finished it in fine form as he went 3-for-5 with a triple, a stolen base and two RBIs. Lin finished the tournament hitting .269/.286/.385 . . . Nick Weglarz (Indians) had three more hits for Canada, while Michael Saunders (Mariners) went 2-for-6. Weglarz hit .400/.483/.720 for the tournament while Saunders hit .286/.333/.571. The two prospects were Canada’s most productive hitters . . . Righthander Yu Darvish, Japan’s top ace now that Daisuke Matsuzaka is pitching in the U.S, bounced back from his previous rough outing with two perfect innings, which also keeps him ready for medal-round action . . . Dexter Fowler (Rockies) has turned his Olympics around. He had two more hits in three at-bats and is hitting .333/.391/.517. Although he was batting in the No. 9 hole on Thursday, don’t be surprised to see him hitting leadoff against Cuba. Trevor Cahill (Athletics) threw three scoreless innings for the U.S., but he was pulled quickly as Davey Johnson turned the meaningless game over to his deep pen of veteran relievers.
For Today: Throw out everything that has happened up to now, as the medals come down to a pair of one-and-done games. Japan will face South Korea and Cuba will face the U.S. in the semifinal games, with the winners advancing to the gold-medal game and the losers playing for the bronze. Cuba (three golds) and the U.S. (one gold) are the only countries to win gold since baseball was officially recognized as an Olympic sport. Cuba won silver in 2000, while the U.S. took the bronze in 1996 and wasn’t in the 2004 tournament. Japan won bronze in 2004 and 1992, and silver in 1996, while South Korea won bronze (its only Olympic medal) in 2000.