Ichiro, Iwamura lead Japan in tuneup

Updated: February 24, 2009, 10:18 AM ET
Associated Press

OSAKA, Japan -- Japan defeated Australia 8-2 on Tuesday in a tuneup game for the World Baseball Classic.

Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners went 1-for-4 with an infield single and a run scored, and Akinori Iwamura of the Tampa Bay Rays drove in two runs for Japan.

Iwamura put Japan ahead 2-1 in the second inning on a sacrifice fly and then made it 4-1 in the fourth by lofting another fly ball to left field.

Japan, led by Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, will open defense of its title when the tournament begins on March 5 at the Tokyo Dome.

The final of the 16-nation tournament is scheduled for March 23 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press