Howard blasts another HR as MLB All-Stars rout Japan
TOKYO -- Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer Sunday and the MLB All-Stars defeated the stars of Japanese baseball 11-4 for a 3-0 lead in a five-game tour.
Howard, who led the majors with 58 homers for the Philadelphia Phillies, connected off reliever Yuya Kubo in the bottom of the seventh inning at the Tokyo Dome to give his team a six-run lead. It was the third home run of the series for the Phillies' first baseman.
"I'm feeling real good about playing in Japan," said Howard, who hit two homers in leading the MLB All-Stars to an 8-6 win Saturday. "The balls are jumping off my bat here and I hope to keep up the good work."
Jones, who hit 41 homers this season for the Atlanta Braves, gave the major leaguers a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth with his first homer of the series.
Earlier in the sixth, Chase Utley of the Phillies broke a 3-3 tie when he singled, advanced to third on Howard's single to right and scored after the throw from right fielder Yuuki Yoshimura skipped past third baseman Shuichi Murata.
Mauer, who hit .347 in the regular season for the Minnesota Twins to become the first catcher to win the American League batting title, connected off Japanese starter Hiroyuki Kobayashi in the bottom of the fifth as the major leaguers took a 2-1 lead.
"Kobayashi was pitching a real good game," Mauer said. "He left the ball out over the plate and I was able to drive it."
The Japan stars had tied the game in the sixth when Michihiro Ogasawara hit an opposite-field line drive to right that Jones snared with a superb running catch, but Eishin Soyogi tagged up and scored from third.
Shuichi Murata singled up the middle to score Kazuya Fukuura.
Norichika Aoki of the Yakult Swallows led off the game with a solo homer off Bedard.
Kobayashi held the major leaguers hitless through the first four innings.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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