|United States 4, Taiwan 2
South Korea 7, Cuba 4
Canada 4, Netherlands 0
Japan 10, China 0
|China vs. Cuba, 10:30
South Korea vs. Netherlands, 11:30 p.m.
Taiwan vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
Team USA Update: Nothing else matters about the round-robin for the Americans now: Team USA has reached the medal round. The Americans beat Taiwan 4-2, sending the Taiwanese to a disappointing 1-5 mark, including a loss to rival China. Righthander Brandon Knight, who pitched poorly against South Korea in his first start, struck out five of the first seven batters he faced and worked into the seventh inning. Outfielders Dexter Fowler (3-for-3) and John Gall (solo homer) keyed the American offense.
Noting: Just like in the World Baseball Classic in 2006, South Korea has been the surprise of the tournament’s preliminary round. The Koreans, who split two exhibition games with Cuba prior to the Olympic tournament, beat Cuba 7-4 Tuesday to remain undefeated at 6-0 and clinch the top seed in the medal round. Korea trailed 3-0 after two innings but scored five runs in the fourth, with the big blows coming on a two-run single by Young-min Ko and a two-run throwing error by Cuban pitcher Norberto Gonzalez. Korean starter Seung Song, the former Red Sox and Expos farmhand and the first player to appear in three Futures Games, pitched into the seventh, giving up just three runs . . . Japan also clinched a spot in the medal round by defeating host China 10-0 in a game called after seven innings by the mercy rule. Tsuyoshi Nishioka had an RBI single and a two-run homer to pace Japan . . . Canada shut out Netherlands 4-0 for its second victory as Giants farmhand Brooks McNiven allowed only one hit in six innings, outdueling Nats farmhand Shairon Martis. McNiven had just two strikeouts in a game with pride on the line and not much else. The Dutch have just not hit—they’ve hit .172 with nine runs in six games, with seven of their runs scoring on the five home runs they’ve hit.
Prospect News: Emerson Frostad (Rangers) had two hits, keying a two-run rally with an RBI triple, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Lawrie (Brewers). Lawrie, a 2008 first-round pick, is 0-for-7 with a pair of RBIs. Nick Weglarz (Indians) went 0-for-2 but had two walks and is batting .350/.435/.650 for the tournament . . . Che-Hsuan Lin (Red Sox) didn’t start against Team USA and went 0-for-1 as a reserve; he’s just 4-for-21 (.190) with nine strikeouts overall . . . The Olympics are confirming what some scouts and Cuban observers have been saying: Yulieski Gourriel, while still a fine prospect, hasn’t progressed as expected. He went 0-for-3 against South Korea and is hitting .217 with one extra-base hit in 23 at-bats for Cuba, whose top hitters have been outfielders Alexei Bell (.455/.520/.864) and Alfredo Despaigne (.320/.346/.640 with a tournament-high nine RBIs).
For Today: The last day of the round robin includes only games for positioning for the medal round. The winner of Team USA’s game with Japan earns the No. 3 seed in the medal round and would play Cuba; the lost faces Korea, which has clinched the top spot. Cuba wraps up in an all-Communist matchup against China, while South Korea plays the Netherlands in its continuing bid for perfection. Canada completes its tournament playing against Taiwan.