YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japanese league players and different generations of Major League Baseball talent secured wins for the United States and the Dominican Republic on Friday.
In their first game in Tokyo, the U.S. thrashed Olympic newcomers Israel 8-1. Joe Ryan, 25, a prospect who was traded to the Minnesota Twins from the Tampa Bay Rays last week, struck out five over six innings, allowing only a solo home run.
Eddy Alvarez, a minor leaguer with the Miami Marlins who was a silver medalist in speedskating during the 2014 Games, drove in two runs on two doubles and scored two runs.
Tyler Austin, 29, playing at the ballpark he normally calls home for the Japan league’s Yokohama BayStars, added a two-run homer and an RBI double.
The U.S. will next face South Korea, with the winner of Saturday’s game advancing to the quarterfinals.
Earlier, former MLB players Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista, along with current Japanese league pitcher Angel Sanchez, led the Dominican Republic to a 1-0 victory over Mexico.
Cabrera, 36, pushed a liner to the left-field wall in the fifth inning to bring home the lone run.
“It wasn’t only me. It was all of us,” Cabrera said. “All 24 of us are heroes.”
The 40-year-old Bautista, playing left field, prevented Mexico from tying the score in the sixth inning by throwing out a runner at home.
Sanchez, who plays for Japan’s Yomiuri Giants, combined with four relievers on a four-hitter.
Adrian Gonzalez had a single and a walk in four plate appearances for Mexico.
“Unfortunately, we hit a lot of balls at them,” Gonzalez said. “But the way this whole format is, we control our destiny.”
If Japan (1-0) beats Mexico on Saturday, the hosts can rest until Monday’s quarterfinals. Mexico could steal that privilege with a two-run win over Japan.
The bottom team among Japan, Mexico and the Dominican Republic will face Israel on Sunday.