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Team USA Outlasts Dominican Republic To Advance To Olympics Semifinals

Scott Kazmir pitched five scoreless innings, Triston Casas homered for the third straight game and Team USA beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Team USA will face the loser of Wednesday’s game between Japan and South Korea in the semifinals on Thursday. The Dominican Republic is eliminated from gold medal contention and moves directly to the bronze-medal game on Friday.

Kazmir set the tone for Team USA. The 37-year-old lefthander fell into a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning but induced a pair of grounders to get out of it. Casas picked up a chopper from Johan Mieses and threw home to get the out and keep the game scoreless, and Todd Frazier scooped up a routine grounder from Melky Cabrera and stepped on third base for the final out to escape the jam.

That was the only trouble Kazmir faced all game. He retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced and finished with five shutout innings, two hits allowed, one walk and five strikeouts.

Casas, after throwing out the runner at the plate in the top of the first inning, gave Team USA the lead in the bottom of the first with a towering two-run homer to center field. It was the Red Sox No. 1 prospect’s third home run of the Olympics and gave him a tournament-high eight RBIs.

Tyler Austin added a solo homer in the fifth to extend the U.S lead to 3-0, and Team USA’s bullpen held it from there.

The first two Dominican hitters reached on errors in the sixth inning to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs, but Brandon Dickson induced a ground ball from Juan Francisco for a double play and got Mieses to pop out to second base end the inning.

The Dominicans put runners on the corners in the seventh with two outs to once again bring the tying run to the plate, but Scott McGough struck out Jose Bautista with a curveball on the outside corner to escape unscathed and keep Team USA’s 3-0 lead intact.

Anthony Gose followed with a perfect eighth and David Robertson pulled one more escape act in the ninth.

After quickly recording the first two outs of the inning, Robertson surrendered a two-out, solo home run to Charlie Valerio and walked Jeison Guzman to bring the tying run to the plate. With Bautista lurking on deck, Robertson fell behind Yefri Perez 2-1 but got him swinging over back-to-back curveballs for a strikeout to end the game.

Team USA is now one win away from advancing to the gold-medal game. If it loses its semifinal matchup, it will face the Dominican Republic again in the bronze-medal game.

Triston Casas Photo By Elsa Getty Images

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