Olympic Baseball 2021: Team USA Beats South Korea; Full Saturday Results

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2021

South Korea's Hae Min Park, left, beats the tag by United States' Triston Casas on a pickoff attempt at first during baseball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Team USA baseball finished group play at the Tokyo Olympics with a 4-2 victory over South Korea on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium in Japan.

The United States, which opened the tournament with a win over Israel on Friday, finishes first in Group B and will face off with host nation Japan in its first matchup of the knockout stages. The event uses a modified double-elimination bracket from this point forward.

In the Group A finale, Japan defeated Mexico to take the top spot.

July 31 Results

Japan 7, Mexico 4

United States 4, South Korea 2

Group A Standings

1. Japan (2-0)

2. Dominican Republic (1-1)

3. Mexico (0-2)

Group B Standings

1. United States (2-0)

2. South Korea (1-1)

3. Israel (0-2)

Baseball Day 4 Recap

Japan took control of the day's first game in the fourth inning courtesy of a three-run home run by designated hitter Tetsuto Yamada, which gave the hosts a 5-1 lead. Yamada drove in four of the team's seven runs in the contest.

Mexico did make a late comeback bid, scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a homer by Joey Meneses to get within three. The rally stalled there, however, as Japanese closer Ryoji Kuribayashi pitched a clean ninth for the save.

While most of the knockout bracket is double-elimination, Mexico and Israel will play in the next round as the last-place finishers in their respective groups and the loser will be eliminated.

Meanwhile, the United States fell behind early as South Korea scored on a fielder's choice in the first inning, but Team USA surged ahead in the middle innings on the strength of homers by Boston Red Sox prospect Triston Casas and Oakland Athletics prospect Nick Allen.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

GOODBYE BASEBALL. ๐Ÿ‘€<br><br>Triston Casas puts <a href="https://twitter.com/USABaseball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USABaseball</a> on top with a monster shot. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/okWUUz3oIS">pic.twitter.com/okWUUz3oIS</a>

The U.S. squad is made up of mostly veterans playing in overseas leagues, free agents and prospects as most of the sport's biggest stars remain stateside with their MLB clubs.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

ANOTHA ONE! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ<br><br>It's a solo shot for Nick Allen as <a href="https://twitter.com/USABaseball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USABaseball</a> extends their lead. <br><br>๐Ÿ’ป: NBCSN <a href="https://t.co/q0X87VwJVM">pic.twitter.com/q0X87VwJVM</a>

American closer David Robertson worked himself into a jam in the ninth, giving up two straight hits to open the frame, but he was able to limit the damage to one run to secure the win and the top spot in the pool.

Looking ahead, the knockout rounds begin Sunday and run through next Saturday (Aug. 7) when both the gold- and bronze-medal games will take place in Tokyo.