Japan stave off Mexico softball comeback

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Hosts Japan walked off in an extra-innings victory against Mexico on the second day of softball at the Tokyo Games, joining the United States at 2-0 in the standings.

Mexico twice tied the game, including in the seventh inning when Japan's ace Yukiko Ueno was three outs away from a complete game and second-straight winning start before a dropped ball by her centre fielder let in a run.

Japan reliever Miu Goto managed to escape loaded bases without surrendering a run in the top of the eighth, setting teammate Mana Atsumi to then drive in Eri Yamada for the 3-2 win in the bottom half.

Yamada started at second base under extra-innings rules.

Japan's win came after US pitcher Monica Abbott dominated from the start to lead her team to a 1-0 victory over Canada.

For seven innings, Canadian batters chased pitches off the plate and failed to make contact on 116 kph tosses from one of the game's fastest throwers and a five-time Japanese league most valuable player.

Abbott returned to the same spot on the bench with toothful grin after her first six dazzling frames. She towelled sweat off her arms, placed a cold pack on the back of her neck and sipped fluids from her pink water bottle. The routine paid off.

Abbott struck out nine in all and gave up one hit. After recording the game's final out, the 1.91-metre left-hander wrapped her arms around catcher Aubree Munro.

"For us to hold down a tough offence and let the defence work, it felt really good," Munro said afterwards.

US centre fielder Haylie McCleney scored the lone run after getting on base with a bloop single.

McCleney also threw out pinch runner Joey Lye to prevent her from scoring on a Sara Groenewegen double to right centre.

The second of five days of round-robin play leaves Canada and Mexico at 1-1.

Australia, who are hoping to be one of the top four out of six teams to advance to the medal matches, kept their hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Italy.

Taylah Tsitsikronis crossed for the sole run in the second innings to secure the all-important victory for the Spirit.

The action breaks on Friday for the opening ceremony of the Games.

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