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U.S. sets homer record in romp

In the same stadium where Hank Aaron became baseball's home run king, the U.S. team set a standard for Olympic homers.

The young Americans hit seven homers, including an Olympic record five in one inning, for a 15-5 victory over Japan on Thursday.

"It was amazing," said Warren Morris, one of the seven U.S. starters who hit a shot over the wall. "I kind of had to step back and forget I was a player for the moment and enjoy it."

"It seemed like a dream," said Jacque Jones, whose three-run homer started the five-homer first. "Not to take anything away from Japan, but it kind of seemed like batting practice. Seven guys went deep. Wow."

At 4-0, the United States is tied with Cuba for first place in the round-robin tournament, which narrows to four teams for medal play. No other team _ not even gold-medal favorite Cuba _ has shown such devastating power.

The Americans have hit 11 homers in the past two games, bolstering their reputation as a power-laden team.

They set Team USA and Olympic records by homering five times in the first inning _ including four straight _ for a 7-0 lead.

After Japan (1-3) cut the lead to two runs with a pair of homers, the United States pulled away on Jason Williams' three-run homer in the fifth. Matt LeCroy's solo shot put the United States up 15-5 in the sixth, and the 10-run mercy rule was invoked after the seventh.

Jones led the United States with a three-run homer and a run-scoring triple.

He started the first-inning spree with a three-run shot off starter Koichi Misawa. Two outs later, Chad Allen homered to chase Misawa and start the streak of four consecutive homers.

Troy Glaus, A.J. Hinch and Morris followed with homers off reliever Jutaro Kimura, who threw 12 pitches and watched three of them clear the wall.

The five homers, which traveled from 352 feet to 485 feet, added to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium's rich tradition as a home run park. Aaron hit his major-league record 715th there April 8, 1974 _ only three members of the U.S. team were born then _ and there is a statue of him outside the front gate.

The United States pulled away with another seven-run inning in the fifth, highlighted by Williams' second homer of the tournament.

In other action, Nicaragua defeated the Netherlands 7-0 and Italy beat Australia 12-8.

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