BERLIN (AP) — No clang this time.

The Americans made sure the baton never had a chance to drop to the track, relying on slow and safe exchanges as they advanced to the final of the 400 relay at the world championships.

Now, the U.S. is in line for a showdown with Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans on Saturday. The Americans, who were missing Tyson Gay, advanced with the top overall time. The Jamaicans, running without Bolt and Asafa Powell, finished second in their heat.

"My thing is safe baton passes in the semis," said Shawn Crawford, who ran the third leg. "When it comes to the finals, just let it all out."

The Americans didn't reach the final at the Olympics in Beijing, where Gay and Darvis Patton fumbled their exchange, the baton bouncing on the track.

Patton said he doesn't give the botched pass a moment's thought. Running the anchor leg Friday, he grabbed the baton and simply took off.

"If you dwell on the past, I think it can hamper your progress," Patton said. "We wanted to go out and have fun today."

That's easier to do when the baton makes it around, too.

"I think it went really well," lead runner Terrence Trammell said.

Still, there was a dicey moment when Mike Rodgers handed the baton off to Crawford. But Crawford slowed way down, making sure he had a firm grip before bolting.

"We had safe passes," Rodgers said. "Hopefully we'll have better exchanges in the finals and run a better time."

The decision on whether Gay will run in the final remains uncertain. Gay is still nursing a groin injury after finishing with the silver medal in the 100.

"He's a great asset to our team," Crawford said. "But we have a great combination no matter what four we put out there. We have enough horsepower to get it done."

It won't be easy, though. Not with Bolt around.

The Jamaican will try to help the relay team better their world record time of 37.10 set in Beijing. Bolt already has broken the 100 and 200 marks during the championships.

"That's a great relay team," Patton said.