The US Major League players overwhelmed the Japanese all-stars by taking 4 games.
Japan won 2 and 2 games were tied.
Most Valuable Player: Steve Finley (San Diego Padres)
Won 2 million yen. He hit a .400 average including 8 hits and a homerun. His great field work was also the reason behind the selection.
November 10 (Tokyo Dome)
The final game of the series is being held in front of a sell out crowd again! It turned out to be another exciting seesaw game. In the first inning, Ichiro, who has finally recovered from a butt injury, doubled, and 2 runners came home. Ichiro too ran back home when Hideki Matsui drove the ball to center. Masaki Saitoh, leading pitcher of the Central League lost 2 points in the 2nd inning. In the 3rd inning, Blue Wave pitcher Hoshino lost a 2 run homer to Dodger's Mike Piazza. The Japanese side added a run in the 6th during a double play, the Major League team, 3 runs in the bottom of that inning. Both teams continued to bat in more runs by singling and doubling. in the 9th, Swallows' Atsuya Furuta's hit helped the team to catch up with the visitors. The series has been fixed to 9 innings. So this game was completed with the teams tying.
November 9 (Yokohama Stadium)
100 years ago, Japan's first official baseball game took place here in Yokohama The site of Yokohama Stadium was back then, the home of a sports club for the foreign community called Yokohama Country and Athletic Club. Ikko High School, the precedent of the University of Tokyo, faced the international team there. Now, in 1996, top players of the US Major League faced the best of Japan's pro baseball at this historical site.
Japan took the lead. In the first inning, Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Bay Stars' Takanori Suzuki together, hit 2 runs in. In the 2nd, with bases loaded, Hideki Matsui exploded. It was a grand slam and his 2nd homerun in the series. The game became rather stagnant until the 7th inning when the US side batted in 4 runs. They include singles by Dodgers' Mike Piazza, and Gary Sheffield of the Florida Marlins. Bay Stars pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki relieved the Japanese team perfectly in the 9th inning. He seemed to have been trying to show off on purpose. Japan won this game 6 to 4.
November 7 (Koshien Stadium)
Hideo Nomo finished the first inning with just 4 pitches. But Nomo couldn't hold out in the 3rd inning. Tigers' Yutaka Wada drove in 3 runs, and Kazuhiro Kiyohara hit in another run. Nomo lost 4 points in 4 innings.
The game, thereafter, was very competitive. Andres Galarraga of the Rockies homered in the 3rd inning. In the 4th inning, Marlins' Gary Sheffield blasted a 3 run homer.Although the Japanese side added more points--2 each in the 5th and 6th innings, the US all-stars attacked Japan's award winning pitcher Masaki Saito fiercely. He lost 4 runs. It was a 11 to 8 victory for the US Major League team.
November 6 (Fukuoka Dome)
The stadium was packed with 48,000 spectators, despite the fact that the game was held from 2 p.m. It was well worth skipping school and work to watch this game, because. it was indeed a close match.
The Japanese were the first to score. That's in the first inning. Then, Cal Ripken Jr. came home in the 2nd inning, and in the following inning, 2 more runs were added by the Major League team. Barry Bonds blasted a homerun in the 5th. The US team was definitely in a triumphant mood. The Japanese players did not give up though. In the bottom of the 5th, they batted in 4 runs which included a hit by Dragons' Kazuyoshi Tatsunami. He was the star of the day. He played outfield which he never did during the season. He played well out there too. Immediately, however, the visitors were able to come even with Japan in the 6th inning. The result of the 5th game of the series was a 6 to 6 tie.
Now, the person who was the center of attention in this game was manager of Daiei Hawks, Sadaharu Oh. US players and coaches went up to him to ask the homerun world record holder for his autograph.
November 4 (Seibu Stadium)
The game was held during the day this time. The all-Japan team scored in the very beginning. However, the visiting team caught up in the 4th inning. Mike Piazza belted a homer. Then in the 7th inning, Cal Ripken Jr. centered a run. The US team triumphed over Japan again 2 to 1.
Now, this game was treated by the Seibu fans in a special manner. It seemded like they were bidding farewell to their superstar Kazuhiro Kiyohara who has announced his determination to become a free agent.
By the way, Ichiro will miss a couple of all-star series. He fell from a chair in the lockerroom during the 2nd game.
November 3 (Tokyo Dome)
The Central League all-stars faced the Major League Players this day. Hideki Matsui blasted a homerun in the 8th inning. He was at last able to show off his power. 36 year old Cal Ripken did too when he smashed a homer earlier--that's in the 4th inning. The outcome of this game was a 4 to 2 for the visiting team.
November 2 (Tokyo Dome)
The stadium with a full capacity of 55,000 spectators was in an uproar when Hideo Nomo walked towards the pitcher's mound to represent the American all-stars. It's been 801 days since he last pitched in Japan when he was with the Kintetsu Buffaloes. The first batter, Ichiro suddenly hit the ball to the center. Otherwise, Nomo pitched 3 innings perfectly.
The US team batted in a point first. In the third inning, Julio Franco blasted a homerun from Satoru Komiyama, his former teammate when he played for the Lotte Marines last year. In the 5th inning, Barry Bonds singled in add 2 runs. Andres Galarranga blasted a 2 run homer the following inning. Kazuhiro Kiyohara was the only one to score in the Japanese team. In the 7th inning, he belted in a homerun to the top of the left. Boy, Kiyohara is doing great this series! The visiting team took this game 6 to 1.
November 1 (Tokyo Dome)
The first of the series took off with the Japanese all-star team exploding. Ichiro drove the ball to the center and stole base to second. Then a batter was walked, and Hideki Matsui made it to first base. Kazuhiro Kiyohara came up to bat with bases loaded. He drove in all 3 runners home. Japan added 2 more runs in the first inning. In the second inning, the major league players batted in 2 runs which included a hit by Cal Ripken Jr. The US team added another 3 points in the 5th inning for a tie. In the 6th inning, the Japanese team broke the tie. The game ended 6 to 5 giving the Japanese all stars the victory.
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