Team USA Wins Olympics Opener In Dominating Fashion
Thanks to the pool play format of the Olympic baseball tournament, winning is very important. Winning convincingly in an international tournament where total runs scored and allowed can serve as tiebreakers is even better.
Team USA had little trouble in its first Olympic game since 2008. Strong pitching from Joe Ryan as well as a balanced lineup knocked off Israel, 8-1.
Ryan, a Twins farmhand who was just traded from the Rays last week for Nelson Cruz, held Israel to five hits and one run in six excellent innings of work. He struck out five.
Tyler Austin and Eddy Alvarez provided all the offense Team USA needed. Alvarez doubled in Nick Allen in the third and doubled in Jamie Westbrook in the seventh. Austin homered in the third and doubled to score Alvarez in the seventh. Austin led all batters with three hits (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBIs).
Danny Valencia scored Israel’s lone run when he yanked a home run to left in the fourth inning.
While the 8-1 win serves the USA well in the case of tiebreakers, that should no longer matter. The win means that Team USA is now 1-0, which means that tomorrow’s game against Korea (set for 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT) will be for first place in Group B. At 0-2, Israel has gone winless in the group play stage. Israel will enter the knockout stage as the Group’s No. 3 seed.