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Japan wins softball gold, defeats U.S. 2-0 in Olympics rematch

Japan took home the gold medal for the second time against the Americans, 13 years after the host country defeated the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Japan's Yukiko Ueno, right, and Yu Yamamoto celebrate after winning softball game against the United States at the Olympics in Yokohama, Japan, on July 27, 2021.
Japan's Yukiko Ueno, right, and Yu Yamamoto celebrate after winning softball game against the United States at the Olympics in Yokohama, Japan, on July 27, 2021.Matt Slocum / AP

Japan took home the gold medal Tuesday, stunning the U.S. softball team 13 years after the Japanese defeated the Americans at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Japanese team beat the Americans 2-0 at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

It was a devastating upset for the U.S. team, which claimed silver for the second time against its rival during the world sporting event and suffered its first loss at the Tokyo Olympics. Softball returned to the Olympic program for the first time this year after it was dropped in 2008.

Veteran pitcher Yukiko Ueno tossed five scoreless innings before the host country snuffed out an American rally attempt with a double play in the sixth inning.

In each of the first four innings, Japan had a runner in a scoring position before batter Mana Atsumi hit a run-scoring infield single. At the top of the fifth inning, Yamato Fujita gave Japan a 2-0 lead after adding a second run when Monica Abbott came into pitch for the U.S.

Despite having a perfect record before Tuesday's game, Team USA only had three hits and failed to capitalize on each opportunity to score.

Earlier Tuesday, Canada defeated Mexico 3-2 to take bronze — the country's first medal in the sport.

The U.S. won every softball gold since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1996, with the exception of Japan's 2008 win.

Softball will not be played at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but may return for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.