The United States has clinched a medal in the Olympic return of its national pastime, beating South Korea 7-2 to advance to the gold medal game against Japan.
After taking a 2-1 lead through five innings, the Americans belted out five runs in the bottom of the sixth. After a walk to Todd Frazier and a strikeout by Eric Filia, Jamie Westbrook and Mark Kolozsvary hit back-to-back singles, with Frazier scoring on the second. Nick Allen walked to load the bases, and Jack Lopez drove home Westbrook with a single.
Eddy Alvarez, now assured of joining the exclusive club of U.S. athletes with medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics thanks to his short-track speedskating relay silver in 2014, got an RBI groundout. Then Tyler Austin picked up two RBI with a single to center.
South Korea got one back in the seventh but gave up its lone baserunner to a double play in the eighth against U.S. reliever Anthony Gose. In the ninth, the Korean team sent up three straight pinch hitters, but Anthony Carter struck out the first two and snagged a line drive hit straight at him to end it.
Lopez also had an RBI single in the second to give the USA the lead, and Westbrook hit a solo home run in the fourth.
Joe Ryan gave up one run in 4 1/3 innings. Ryder Ryan replaced him to pick up the win.