U.S. Wins Bronze in Baseball's Olympic Swan Song

Pictogram -- Baseball

BEIJING (AP) - In baseball's final Olympic baseball game for the United States, Davey Johnson's will leave the U.S. with a bronze medal. Baseball, as well as softball, has been dropped from the Olympics, while it campaigns for its return in 2016.

Coming back from a 4-1 deficit to get the 8-4 win, the U.S. used long balls from former Huntsville Star Matt LaPorta, Matt Brown, and Jason Donald.

The U.S. broke the game open in the bottom of the 5th.

With one out and the score tied at four, Japan reliever Kenshin Kawakami was in position to get out of the inning after Brown doubled and Nate Schierholz walked, but after Brown stole third to put men on the corners, Taylor Teagarden, a backup catcher with the Texas Rangers, hit a big double to clear the bases and give the U.S. a 6-2 lead.  Then Donald, the Phillies' Double-A shortstop, raked one off the foul pole in left for a 2-run homer to make it 8-4.

Brett Anderson struck out six and walked three in seven innings. Kevin Jespen closed the game for the Americans.

The game attracted a capacity crowd that included IOC president Jacques Rogge.

Anderson, a Class AA lefty for Midland (Texas) in the Oakland organization, said. "It's a really good feeling, especially knowing this is the last Olympics for baseball, at least for a while. How many people get Olympic medals?"

The bronze medal is the second won by the United States in Olympic baseball competition. The first came at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

The U.S. won the gold in Sydney in 2000 behind Ben Sheets' classic 3-hit shutout.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)