U.S. Baseball Beats Dominican Republic, Advances to Semifinal
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Behind one of its oldest and one of its youngest players, the United States toppled the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Wednesday to advance to the semi-finals and preserve their medal hopes of ‘gold.
Scott Kazmir, 37, who reached the major leagues this season after a five-year absence, allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings while striking out five batters.
An all-star with the Tampa Bay Rays in his early twenties, Kazmir has made a comeback this season in the major leagues, appearing in three games with the San Francisco Giants. When he was let go by the Giants, the United States team surged and unemployed Kazmir seized the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.
“I felt like I still had a lot in me and I felt the free time really did me good,” he said.
First baseman Triston Casas, 21, one of the Boston Red Sox’s top prospects, smashed a two-run homerun in the first inning against Denyi Reyes, another Red Sox farming system player. It was Casas’ third circuit at the Olympics. Designated hitter Tyler Austin added a solo explosion in the fifth inning.
The United States will face the loser of Wednesday’s game between South Korea and unbeaten Japan on Thursday. Another victory, and the United States will play for their first baseball gold since 2000.
Despite the loss, the Dominican Republic qualified for the bronze medal game, where they could win their first Olympic medal in baseball.
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