U.S. baseball players had to wait 13 years to return to the Olympics. They only had to wait three innings to break open their first game back.
Eddy Alvarez, who won a silver medal in short-track speedskating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, hit an RBI double and Tyler Austin followed with a two-run home run to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead over Israel en route to an 8-1 win.
Israel mounted a rally in the fourth inning but could only get one run home, a solo shot by former major league journeyman Danny Valencia, against starting pitcher Joe Ryan.
Alvarez and Austin each added another RBI in the seventh, with Alvarez driving home Jamie Westbrook with another double and Austin sending Alvarez home with a double of his own. The U.S. scored in each of the last four innings while the relief-pitching corps held Israel to two hits in the last three innings.
Bubba Starling also had two RBI on a single in the sixth and a groundout in the eighth.
Israel also lost to South Korea in the three-team group and therefore has no chance at getting the playoff bye awarded to the group winner, which will be determined in the U.S.-South Korea game on Saturday.