Howard's two homers help MLB All-Stars trip Japan

Updated: November 4, 2006, 6:18 PM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO --Ryan Howard and Tadahito Iguchi gave the MLB All-Stars an offensive boost.

Ryan Howard
AP Photo/Koji SasaharaRyan Howard, right, celebrates with Jermaine Dye after hitting his second homer Saturday.
Howard hit a pair of homers Saturday and Iguchi drove in two runs with a clutch double as the MLB All-Stars defeated the stars of Japanese baseball 8-6 for a 2-0 lead in a five-game tour.

Howard, who led the majors with 58 homers for the Philadelphia Phillies, gave the major leaguers a 5-2 lead in the top of the third inning with a towering two-run homer to center field at Tokyo Dome.

"I got some good pitches to hit," Howard said. "We've got a lot of good players on this team, and I was happy to contribute."

Howard's blast landed just below the scoreboard in center.

After Andruw Jones singled and reached third on Lyle Overbay's double, Iguchi doubled down the third base line and his team took a comfortable 7-2 lead after scoring five runs in the third.

Iguchi, a Tokyo native, was playing in his first event at home since leaving to play for the Chicago White Sox in 2005. He was a Japanese All-Star at second base for the Daiei Hawks.

Tomoya Satozaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines cut the lead to 7-4 with a two-run homer in the third off MLB starter Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds, who picked up the win after giving up four runs on five hits over four innings.

The Japanese team scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull within one run, but Overbay extended the lead with a solo homer to center off Yuya Kubo in the eighth.

The five-game series continues Sunday at the Tokyo Dome before games in Osaka and Fukuoka on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press