The first matchup between the MLB All Stars and the Samurai Japan team was a pure pitching duel. Both starters lasted five innings. The difference between the two was two runs. Kenta Maeda, the ace of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, was masterful and cruised through the five innings that he pitched.
Matt Shoemaker pitched a good game as well but gave up a run in the bottom of the second inning when Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a sac fly with runners on third and second.
Two innings later, Nobuhiro Matsuda scored a run himself when he was driven in from second base on a single by Teisuto Yamada.
The Japanese had runners in scoring position a few times but couldn’t extend the score.
The MLB players didn’t have an answer to the Japanese pitching. Maeda allowed just two hits in the five innings that he pitched. He also gave up two walks and struck out two. His successors did an excellent job as well. The three relievers combined for four innings and a hit and a walk allowed.
With this combined performance, it won’t come as a surprise that the MLB players got runners in scoring position only three times.
Matt Shoemaker was tabbed with the loss. He lasted five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. Kenta Maeda earned the win. Yuji Nishino (Shiba Lotte Marines) pitched one inning in which he allowed one hit to earn the save.
It was remarkable that the MLB players managed to turn only one double play out of several chances they had. I don’t know if their play was influenced by the artificial turf of the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.
For those who follow Japanese baseball closely, this result may not have come as a surprise. I knew that Maeda is a good pitcher, but I don’t follow the NPB that close to expect this outcome.
Boh teams will head to Tokyo where they will face each other in the Tokyo Dome (home of the Yomiuri Giants) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that the teams will play a game in the Sapporo Dome, home of the Hoikkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, former team of Yu Darvish. The final game between the two teams will be played at Okinawa, the island where the NPB teams have their spring training home.
The final game of the Japan All Star Series will be played in the Okinawa Cellular Stadium