Olympic Baseball 2021: USA vs. Japan Set for Gold-Medal Game

Adam WellsAugust 5, 2021

USA's baseball team players and coaches gather in front of dugout prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball round 2 game between USA and Japan at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 2, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

In a rematch of one of the best games from the tournament, Japan and the United States will square off for the gold medal in baseball at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. 

The host nation has been the best team throughout the event with a perfect 4-0 record. Its lineup has been fantastic, scoring 23 runs in four games. 

The South Korean squad did get a second shot at qualifying for the final when it met the Americans in the second semifinal Thursday. The U.S. won the first meeting between these two teams 4-2 in group play Saturday. 

Team USA once again took care of business with a 7-2 victory to get another attempt at beating Japan. 

2020 Olympic Baseball Gold-Medal Game

Matchup: Japan (4-0) vs. United States (3-1)

Date: Saturday, Aug. 7 

Start Time: 6 a.m. ET

Live Stream: NBCSports.com

Watch: USA (Tape delay at 9:30 a.m. ET)

Team USA played its most complete game of the tournament Thursday. Jack Lopez started the scoring with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. 

In Wednesday's semifinal, Japan briefly appeared to be on the ropes against South Korea. The South Koreans got two runs in the top of the sixth to even the score 2-2. 

The Japanese put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth with the help of some sloppy pitching by South Korea's bullpen.

Kensuke Kondoh reached first on a fielder's choice with two outs. Korean reliever Go Woo-suk proceeded to throw a wild pitch, intentionally walked Munetaka Murakami and issued a free pass to Takuya Kai that loaded the bases. 

Tetsuto Yamada cleared the bases with a three-run double that gave Japan a 5-2 advantage. Ryoji Kuribayashi closed out the win by pitching a scoreless ninth. 

After both teams went undefeated in group play, the U.S. and Japan met in the second round of the tournament on Monday.

The two teams traded haymakers in the middle innings, with the United States scoring three runs each in the fourth and fifth to take a 6-3 lead. Japan got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth. 

Yuki Yanagita tied the game with an RBI single off Scott McGough in the bottom of the ninth. Takuya Kai walked it off in the 10th with a single that scored Yanagita for the 7-6 victory. 

Japan has never won an Olympic gold medal in baseball. It has only been in the final once in 1996, when it lost to Cuba, and has won bronze twice. The United States is looking for its second Olympic gold and first since 2000. 

South Korea will play the Dominican Republic in the bronze-medal game on Friday night at 11 p.m. ET.