MLB All-Stars beat Japan’s Giants ahead of exhibition tour

TOKYO — J.T. Realmuto and Amed Rosario drove in two runs each to lead the MLB All-Stars over the Yomiuri Giants 9-6 on Thursday in a warm-up game ahead of their six-game exhibition series against Japan’s national team.

Juan Soto hit a double off the roof of Tokyo Dome in the third inning that scored Yadier Molina from second to give the MLB team a 4-0 lead. Realmuto then doubled in a run and Rosario added two more on a single as the MLB squad scored five runs in the inning to take a 7-0 lead.

Realmuto also hit an opposite-field solo homer in the fifth to make it 8-3.

After the game, Realmuto got to experience a Japanese baseball tradition when he was invited on the field to take part in the “hero interview” in front of the Tokyo Dome crowd.

“This is awesome, we don’t do this in the United States so I’m really excited to be here with you guys,” Realmuto said. “Hopefully, I can keep hitting well and be here with you again.”

The highlight for the home fans came in the fourth when Seiya Matsubara’s sinking liner split the gap between Ronald Acuna Jr. and Soto in left-centre field.

By the time Acuna retrieved the ball and got it back into the infield, Matsubara had raced around the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run that cut the MLB stars’ lead to 7-4.

The series begins Friday with three games on consecutive nights in Tokyo followed by one game in Hiroshima on Tuesday and two games in Nagoya on Wednesday and Thursday.

During the series, pitchers will not be allowed to throw more than 80 pitches per game. If a pitcher throws more than 50 pitches, he must have four days of rest before being able to throw in another game.

Jim Armstrong, The Associated Press

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