How to get through the baseball off season? Japan All-Star Series 2014

In my “How to get through the baseball off season?” post, I wrote about a things you could do during the baseball off season to avoid baseball hibernation. One of them was watching/following the Australian Baseball League.

I found a new option. I know that there are only a few games played, but what about the Japan All Star Series? It is a tour of MLB players, I won’t call them all All Stars, who tour Japan and face an All Star Selection of NPB players.
Yesterday the MLB players faced a combo team of Hanshin Tigers players and Yomiuri Giants players. This is quite unique because both teams are bitter rivals. The game was played at the Koshien Stadium, home of the Hanshin Tigers. This stadium was built in 1924 to host the Japanese high school championships. At the time it was the biggest stadium in Asia.

Yesterday’s game was a very entertaining one. The MLB team took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Carlos Santana grounded in a 5-4-3 double play. Alcides Escobar scored on the play and Robinson Cano moved to third base. A line drive by Yasiel Puig drove in the second run for the team of manager John Farrell.

One inning later the MLB team stepped on it. With the bases loaded, they couldn’t cash in right away when Robinson Cano struck out looking. But Evan Longoria then connected for a grand slam to center field. The MLB squad scored two more runs, one in the sixth and one in the seventh to bring their total on eight runs.

But the Tigers-Giants team wasn’t about to give up. In the sixth inning Yamato Maeda scored all the way from first base on a double hit by Hiroki Uemoto. In the next inning they jumped on relief pitcher Franklin Morales. With runners on first and second, Taishi Ohta tripled down to right field to drive in Takayuki Terauchi and Hayata Ito. Ohta, on his turn, scored on a 6-4 ground out hit by Seiji Kobayashi. A single by Yamato Maeda, followed by a double hit by Keisuke Kano and another single by Hiroki Uemoto, put two more runs on the board, to make in 8-6.

In the eighth with two out, Yasuyuki Kataoka scored all the way from first on a a fielding error by Jose Altuve, to make it 8-7.

In the ninth inning, the Japanese came close to tie the game, but with runners on first and second they coudn’t cash in when Yasuyuki Kataoka was struck out by Jeff Bellveau for the final out of the game.

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