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Japan Beats U.S. in Netherlands

July 26, 2002

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HAARLEM, Netherlands (AP) _ Syouitsu Ohmatsu hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning, leading Japan over the United States 2-1 Friday at the Haarlem Baseball Week.

The Americans, who have beaten Taiwan, South Africa and Cuba, are tied with the Cubans for first at 3-1. The United States plays the Netherlands on Saturday night, and the top two teams advance to Sunday’s final.

The United States went ahead in the first when Eric Patterson walked, stole second, took third on Rickie Weeks’ flyout and scored on Michael Aubrey’s sacrifice fly.

Philip Humber, who didn’t allow a hit for the first 3 2-3 innings, gave up the tying run in the sixth when Yasumori Hayashi singled leading off and scored on Yuuki Itoh’s RBI grounder.

Winner Takayuki Kushima pitched 5 2-3 innings of one-hit ball in relief of starter Shoichi Saitoh, who got just four outs, and Yukihara Hamamoto pitched a perfect ninth for the save, completing a two-hitter.

The only American hits were singles by Conor Jackson in the second and fourth innings.

Humber allowed both runs and four hits in eight innings, striking out seven.

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