by Ronald Bloom ap baseball writer
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Tristan Casas hit his third home run of the Olympics, a two-run drive in the first innings of Boston Red Sox Double-A teammate Denny Reyes as the United States beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Wednesday. To stay in the race for the gold medal
Tyler Austin, a former major leaguer at his home ballpark of the Central League’s Yokohama Bay Stars, added a single home run to his second long-ball fifth of the tournament.
The US (3-1) plays next Thursday night, meeting the loser of Wednesday night’s Japan-South Korea match for a berth in this weekend’s gold medal game.
Scott Kazmir (1-0) survived a base-loaded, one-out jam in the first, and the 37-year-old left-hander pitched a two-hit ball in five scoring innings.
Four relievers finished, David Robertson allowed a two-out homer to Charlie Valerio in the ninth. The Americas, coached by longtime Angels manager Mike Ciocchia, won 5-3, overcoming three errors and 0-12-12 from their No. 6-9 batters.
Austin went with one in first, and Casas centered the pitch 1–1. He is batting .313 with eight RBIs.
A 21-year-old first baseman in Portland, Maine, Casas was the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft. He has been hitting .271 for the Sea Dogs this season with six homers and 30 RBIs.
The 24-year-old right-hander Reyes (0-1) conceded two runs and two hits in four innings. He is 3-1 with 2.90 ERA in two starts and 11 relief appearances at Portland.
Austin, who has a .412 average and five RBIs, sits straight in the center against the late addition to the Dominican roster, Gabriel Arias.
Casmir was starting on a 16-day rest, as it faced a college All-Star team in North Carolina on July 18. The three-time All-Star had a 6.43 ERA in two starts and was a respite appearance for the San Francisco Giants this season, his first major league appearance in five years, then sent straight to Triple-A Sacramento on June 11. had gone. He made three starts for the Cats River before reporting to the Olympic team.
With 90-degree temperatures and high humidity at game time, Kazmir threw 77 pitches, five one hit and one gone.
Brandon Dixon, a 36-year-old right-handed batsman who was dropped from his previous major league appearance of nine years, got out of trouble in the sixth, when Cass mistimed a grounder for first and second baseman Eddie. Alvarez made a poor throw on the second. Basis for frequent errors. Juan Francisco landed in double play and Johann Mrs was out.
Scott McGaugh, a 31-year-old former Miami reliever who made a save against Japan two nights earlier, was out of trouble at two-on in the eighth when Jose Bautista took consecutive sliders and was called out by Mexico’s plate umpire Jair Fernandez. Gaya, prompting complaints from the six-time All-Star.
Anthony Gos finished eighth, and Robertson made his second defense, running to Jason Guzmán before hitting Yefri Pérez.
Playing 14 hours after his ninth-innings comeback victory over Israel, the Dominican (2-3) started with five switch-hitters and just one left-hander against Kazmir. They will play the loser on Thursday night for the bronze medal.
The Dominican loaded the bases with a first out on Eric Mejia’s double, a dropped fly ball for his Olympic debut and an error in a walk by left fielder Patrick Kivelan. Mrs took the field in a forceout at the plate, bringing up Melki Cabrera, who was 3 for 10 against Casmir in his major league career, with a home run for Kansas City against the Angels on April 11, 2011. Cabra bounced to Todd Frazier, who finished third for an innings-ending forceout.
Gustavo Nez was injured on a swing in the seventh and was pinch-hit by Perez.
There is much more to come on this story.