Japan stepped closer to the medal games in baseball with a 7-6 10-inning win over the United States on Monday.
The U.S. is not eliminated but now faces a longer path to medal contention.
Yanagita Yuki sent the game to extra innings with his second RBI of the evening, a groundout that scored Suzuki Seiya. In the 10th inning, when each team starts its time at bat with two runners on base, the U.S. was unable to capitalize, while Japan used a bunt and a single by Takuya Kai to score the winning run.
Triston Casas gave the U.S. a 6-3 lead with a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. Japan answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but neither team scored again until Japan scratched out the tying run in the bottom of the ninth.
Japan chased out U.S. starter Shane Baz with two runs in the bottom of the third. After Baz retired the first two batters, Sakamoto Hayato hit a double and scored on a single by Yoshida Masataka. After two straight walks, Yanagita drove home Yoshida, prompting the U.S. to bring in relief pitcher Brandon Dickson to pitch out of the bases-loaded jam.
The U.S. immediately answered with three runs in the top of the fourth on RBI doubles by Todd Frazier and Nick Allen sandwiched around an RBI single by Mark Kolozsvary. After giving up a tying run in the bottom of the inning, Eddy Alvarez and Tyler Austin singled and came home on Casas' blast.
In the complicated baseball playoff system, Japan faces South Korea in an imprecisely named "semifinal" on Wednesday. The U.S. plays an elimination game against the winner of a matchup between the Dominican Republic and Israel and must win twice to reach the gold medal game.