US baseball loses heartbreaker to Japan in Olympics final

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The United States baseball team could not avenge its loss to Japan, which means revenge is not coming for a long while.

The USA baseball team is a silver medalist after falling to Japan, 2-0, in Saturday’s final in Tokyo. Baseball is scheduled to be shelved for the 2024 Games in Paris, so the Americans will need to wait for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics for another shot.

The US — filled with prospects and former big-leaguers because players on 40-man rosters in Major League Baseball were not invited — took the long road to the final after losing to Japan on Monday and needed victories over the Dominican Republic and South Korea to sneak into the gold medal game.

But its offense, which sought America’s first gold medal in men’s baseball since 2000, was silenced by Japan’s professional arms.

While Masahiro Tanaka did not pitch, reigning Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Masato Morishita threw five scoreless innings before Japan’s bullpen did the rest of the work.

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The US had six hits and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, squandering chances in the fifth, sixth and seventh, and never breaking through. Former Yankee Tyler Austin went 1-for-3 with a walk, and former Yankee and Met Todd Frazier went 0-for-4.

US starter Nick Martinez, a Fordham product who pitches in Japan’s professional league, pitched well for six innings, but the Americans would never rally back after a Munetaka Murakami home run in the third.

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