ATHENS, Greece – Brendan Kingman's (search) sixth-inning single sent Australia to a 1-0 victory over stunned Japan, putting the Aussies in the men's baseball gold medal game.
Australia will play either Cuba or Canada for the title. Japan faces the loser of the other semifinal for the bronze.
Kingman, 31, singled off right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (search) to score the lone run.
Right-hander Chris Oxspring gave up five hits and struck out five in 6 2-3 innings. Oxspring, 27, pitched out of the bullpen for San Diego's Triple-A Portland Beavers before heading for Athens.
Japan's best threat came in the bottom of the seventh, when Oxspring retired the first two batters. A pair of errors put runners on first and third, but right-hander Jeff Williams retired Atsushi Fujimoto on a popup.
Japan didn't get a hit the rest of the way off Williams, 32, who appeared in 37 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers before signing with Japan's Hanshin Tigers last year.
Determined to reach the gold medal game, Japan sent a roster loaded with players from its pro leagues after it didn't win a medal in 2000. A bunch of career minor leaguers led the Aussies to their biggest victory in international play.
In women's basketball classification games, Nigeria earned its first win of the competition, beating winless South Korea 68-64 to finish 11th. The Nigerians, making their first appearance at the Olympics, celebrating in the middle of the court after the game. China outscored Japan 31-15 in the fourth quarter to win 82-63 and take ninth place.
Serbia-Montenegro, the two-time defending world champion, beat Angola 85-62 to finish 11th in the Olympic men's basketball tournament. The Serbs dropped to last place in their first-round group on Monday, after losing to Yao Ming and China, which grabbed the last quarterfinal berth in Group A.
Australia's Shane Heal was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders after Australia won the game 98-80 for ninth place. The four-time Olympian scored 30 points in his last game. Heal, 33, has announced his retirement from basketball.
Heal was 6-of-7 from 3-point range and had 20 points at halftime as Australia (2-4) took a 48-34 lead. Like five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze (search), who retired after the Sydney Games, Heal will retire without a medal because Australia's best finish remains fourth — in 1988, 1996 and 2000.
Russia scored twice in extra time to edge Hungary for fifth place in women's water polo after their playoff was locked 10-10 at the end of regulation.
Ekaterina Vasilieva and Svetlana Bogdanova scored in overtime to give the Russians a two-goal cushion. Hungarian captain Mercedes Stieber converted on a 6-on-5 play with 42 seconds remaining to cut the margin. The Hungarians almost forced a shoot-out, but a lobbed shot landed on top of the net at the buzzer.
Kayak racer Rami Zur, a former Israeli Olympian with dual citizenship, looks like the U.S. canoe-kayak flatwater team's best chance for its first medal since 1992. He nearly won his 500-meter single kayak (K-1) heat race, finishing only .26 seconds behind winner Alan van Coller of South Africa, meaning Zur will race in a semifinal on Thursday.
Zur also raced with Bartosz Wolski in the K-2 500, finishing fourth, about 2.8 seconds behind heat winners Marek Twardowski and Adam Wysocki of Poland. That meant a second semifinal berth for Zur.
Meanwhile, seven-time gold medalist Birgit Fischer of Germany continued to make a case that, at 42, she's still the world's best in her sport. Setting the pace from the front of her pairs kayak, Fischer and 22-year-old Carolin Leonhardt (born four years after Fischer's first gold in Moscow) led their 500-meter race from beginning to end, getting a bye straight to Saturday's final.
No American boats have been eliminated yet, but none made it straight to the finals.
In the first women's field hockey classification game, New Zealand needed overtime to defeat South Korea 3-2. Lisa Walton scored the winner in the 80th minute, when she slotted the rebound off a shot from Kayla Sharland. New Zealand will face trans-Tasman rival Australia on Thursday in the fifth-place game after the Aussies defeated Japan 3-1. South Korea and Japan will play for seventh.
Hungary beat South Korea 30-25 to advance to the men's team handball semifinals. Hungarian captain Istvan Pasztor scored seven times. Carlos Perez, one of two former Cubans on the Hungarian team, added four goals. Yoon Kyung-shin scored nine goals for the Koreans.
Iceland beat Pan American Games champion Brazil 29-25 to finish ninth and Slovenia topped Egypt 30-24 for 11th.