Samurai Japan shutout the MLB all-stars early this morning by a 2-0 score in the first game of a five-game series taking place in Japan.
This is the first time the MLB all-stars have travelled to Japan for the series since 2006. Samurai Japan is Japan’s national team and they are facing some of MLB’s best players including Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria and the 2014 National League batting champion, Justin Morneau.
The series consists of five games and two exhibition games between the two teams. The remaining games will be played in Tokyo, Sapporo and Okinawa.
The first exhibition game took place Tuesday morning; the MLB all-stars won 8-7 in a nail biter that was highlighted by a grand slam from Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria.
The first game of the 5-game series started this morning. Japanese starting pitcher Kenta Maeda held the MLB all-stars to no runs and only two hits in his five innings of work.
Matt Shoemaker started the game on a high note for the MLB all-stars. He struck out the side in the first inning and went on to strike out five, giving up two runs on six hits in five innings.
The first run for Samurai Japan came in the second inning, when third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a sacrifice fly to open up the score. Later in the fourth inning, Matsuda reached base on a fielder’s choice and stole second base. He would then score on a single by Tetsuto Yamada, which proved to be enough to take the series opener against the MLB all-stars.
Game two of the series is set for Friday at 4:00 a.m. ET. Both probable pitchers for this contest are Japanese. The MLB all-stars will send Seattle Mariner’s Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound. Iwakuma was 15-9 with a 3.52 earned run average for the Mariners in the 2014 season. Fellow Japanese pitcher Chihiro Kaneko is scheduled to pitch for Samurai Japan. Kaneko had a 16-5 record and a 1.98 earned run average in the 2014 season for the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese League.