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US softball team sets HR record in win over Japan

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Jessica Mendoza had two of an Olympic softball-record four home runs hit by the United States in a 7-0 win Friday over Japan.

Crystl Bustos and Natasha Watley also homered for the Americans, who had nine hits in just 25 at bats. Bustos' solo shot in the fourth inning gave the U.S. its 7-0 lead.

The game was stopped after five innings by the mercy rule.

Monica Abbott pitched a one-hit shutout following back-to-back U.S. no-hitters thrown by teammates Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman.

Abbott started a game against Canada on Thursday that was postponed because of rain and didn't allow a hit through three innings, though she was called for a couple of illegal pitches.

Canada took a 1-0 lead, helped by an error. That game will resume later Friday.

Ayumi Karino led off the first inning with a single for Japan, stopping the no-hit streak for the U.S. But Abbott set down the next 15 batters in order, striking out five without issuing a walk.

"There is a quote," said Abbott, "'Your best defense is a good offense.'"

The U.S. women moved to 3-0, winning their three games by a combined 21-0 score. They have won 17 straight Olympic games dating back to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"The most important influence was the psychological aspect," said Japan shortstop Rei Nishiyama. "We couldn't deal with today's competition."

08/15 03:14:39 ET


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