FUKUOKA, Japan -- Jose Reyes hit a two-run homer in the
bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday to give the MLB All-Stars a 5-3
victory over the Japan stars and a sweep of the five-game series.
Bill Hall singled before Reyes homered to right off reliever
Hisashi Ogura to complete the major leaguers' first sweep in Japan
in 72 years.
"I was just glad to put my team in a position to win again,"
said Reyes, who had 19 homers for the New York Mets this season.
"I was looking for a pitch to hit and I got all of it. We came
here to win and didn't want to lose a game."
The last time major leaguers swept a tour of Japan was when the
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig All-Stars went 17-0 in 1935.
Ryan Howard was the MVP of the tour, finishing the series with
four homers and eight RBI.
"I got some good pitches to hit and had a lot of fun here,"
said the Philadelphia Phillies slugger, who led the majors with 58
homers this season. "I had a great time and I'm glad that we were
able to win every game."
"Japan plays with a lot of heart," MLB manager Bruce Bochy
said. "But we came over with a real good team and the fans got to
see some of the best players in the world during this series."
The MLB stars took a 3-2 in the sixth on Howard's RBI double and
Andruw Jones' sacrifice fly. Naoyuki Omura tied it for Japan with a
two-out, bloop single in the ninth. Scot Shields picked up the win,
recording the final out in the 10th.
Howard broke up a perfect game bid by Japan's Tsuyoshi Wada with
a single in the fifth. He scored on Kenji Johjima's single.
Takahiro Arai and Shuichi Murata gave Japan a 2-0 lead in the
fourth with solo homers off MLB starter John Lackey.
"I grew up in Fukuoka, so it's nice to get a hit in my
hometown," Murata said. "Their pitchers throw hard and they can
pitch to all corners, so I'm learning a lot by facing them."
Johjima and Tadahito Iguchi were playing in the Fukuoka Dome for
the first time since leaving for the majors.
The MLB All-Stars showed a dramatic flair during the series with Japan. Including the warm-up game, the MLB team hit lead-changing home runs in the eighth inning or later in three games, and had at least one blast in every contest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.