Photo: Getty Images/Samurai Japan.
TOKYO — Down to their final out, the Japan National Baseball Team came from behind to defeat the Major League Baseball (MLB) Stars, 7-6, Friday night to open a six-game series before a crowd of 44,934 at the Tokyo Dome.
Fukuoka Hawks outfielder Yuki Yanagita blasted a two-run, walk-off home run off San Diego Padres reliever Kirby Yates to end the game.
MLB collected all their runs via the long ball, including a solo home run by Amed Rosario, a two-run homer by Juan Soto and a three-run homer from Carlos Santana.
Shogo Akiyama collected three RBIs on a bases-loaded double that tied the game, 4-4, in the fifth inning.
Walk-off home run!!!!!!!!!!!!! Japan wins Game 1 !!!!! ⭐️MLB 6-7 JPN #JapanAllStarSeries
Official Attendance at Tokyo Dome️: 44,934
: Getty/Samurai Japan pic.twitter.com/YAbpgecZcu
— WBSC ⚾ (@WBSC) November 9, 2018
Soto’s two-run homer in the sixth inning put MLB ahead 6-4.
Yasuaki Yamasaki (Yokohama DeNA BayStars) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn win, while Yates tagged with the loss.
Game 2 of the WBSC-sanctioned Japan All-Star Series will continue tomorrow (Saturday, 10 November) at the Tokyo Dome.
In 74 contests dating back to 1986, MLB has won 50 games, while the Samurai Japan National Team/Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has won 24 times.
International contests are heating up with the return of baseball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.