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Updated: November 14, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Henk Seppen)

Samurai Japan nips MLB All Stars to win 4th game and Series

NAGOYA (Japan) - Samurai Japan nipped the Major League Baseball All Star Team 6-5 on Wednesday (November 14) in the fifth game of this years MLB Japan All-Star Series. For Japan, this was its fourth victory and with that, it won the Series. Two years ago, Samurai Japan also won the All-Star Series against the Major Leaguers.

For the third time in the Series, Japan came from behind and turned a deficit into a victory. The MLB Team led 5-1 after six innings, but Japan again staged a late rally, scoring four runs in the seventh inning to come alongside. Japan then took the lead in the eighth to turn the game its way.

On Tuesday, at Hiroshima, in the fourth game, the MLB Team led 3-1 after eight innings, but Japan then scored four runs in the top of the ninth to win 5-3.

The MLB Team lost the first two games in Tokyo. On Friday, the Japanese All Stars won 7-6 and on Saturday, the team recorded a convincing 12-6 victory. In the opening game, the MLB Team led 6-4, but Japan then scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the second game, the MLB Team trailed 12-1 halfway the seventh inning, but then then scored five runs to make it a 12-6 score.

On Sunday, the MLB All Star Team won its first game. In the third game in Tokyo, the All Stars win 7-3.

The two teams will close this years Series on Thursday with a game in Nagoya, where today's game also was played. The games are played at the Nagoya Dome, which opened in March 1997 and since then is the home of NPB-team Chunichi Dragons.

On Wednesday, the MLB Team outhit Japan 14-7, but was left empty-handed again. Juan Soto (Washington Nationals) and Amed Rosario (New York Mets) both collected three basehits.

In the top of the second inning, Juan Soto led off for the MLB Team with a single, then scored when next batter Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies) homered off of starter Nao Higashihama. Hereafter, the next two batters reached base, but were left behind.

Samurai Japan cut the deficit in half immediately when Kazuma Okamoto led off the bottom of the second inning with a homerun off of Junior Guerra. The Venezuelan righthander of the Milwaukee Brewers did fine, as this was the lone basehit he gave up in five innings. Guerra struckout seven batters.

The MLB Team took some more distance in the following innings. With one out in the top of the third inning, Ronald Acuña, Jr. (Atlanta Braves) doubled and scored on a single by Juan Soto.

In the fourth inning, the MLB Team added another run off of reliever Haruhiro Hamaguchi. He struckout the first two batters, but then gave up a single to Amed Rosario and a runscoring double to Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals). Hereafter, Carlos Santana (Philadelphia Phillies) walked, but Hamaguchi then closed with another strikeout.

The MLB Team increased its lead to 5-1 in the top of the sixth off of new pitcher Akitake Okada. With one out, Rosario delivered another single. He then stole second base and scored on a 2-out single by Santana.

...Closer Yuki Matsui pitching for Japan vs. Netherlands...
...during the 2017 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hector Velázquez (Boston Red Sox) took over the pitching from Guerra and retired the side. But the Mexican righthander ran into problems in the seventh and gave up four runs that tied the score. Velázquez first gave up three consecutive singles. Kazuma Okamoto and Seiji Uebayashi opened with singles which led to runners at the corners. Takuya Kai followed with a runscoring single Hereafter, Velázquez made a throwing error on a comeback-grounder by Kazuka Tanaka, trying to force out Kai at second base. That enabled Uebayashi to score and Kai to move to third base. With the score now at 5-3, Velázquez struckout the next batter. But hereafter, he gave up a 2-run double to pinch-hitter Hotaka Yamakawa that tied the score. The next two batters were retired, but it was a new ball game.

In the top of the eighth, Carlos Santana doubled with two outs for the MLB Team, but was left behind.

Moments later, off of new pitcher Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians), Japan took the lead. With two outs, Seiji Uebayashi singled and scored on a double by Takuya Kai.

In the top of the ninth, Yuki Matsui closed the game for Samurai Japan. He gave up a lead-off single to Juan Soto. With one out, his pinch-runner Kevin Pillar (Toronto Blue Jays) was forced out on a grounder by Mitch Haniger (Seattle Mariners). However, after reaching first base, Haniger also was eliminated by the Japanese defense to end the game.

(November 14)

Related Articles:
Samurai Japan wins third game vs. MLB All Stars. (November 13)
MLB All Stars win 1st game in Japan after 2 losses. (November 11)
MLB All Stars empty-handed vs. Samurai Japan. (November 10)
Hensley Meulens Bench Coach MLB All Stars for Japan Tour. (October 31)

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