TOKYO (AP) — Yadier Molina had three hits, including a three-run homer, and J.T. Realmuto also went deep to lead the MLB All-Stars over Japan 7-3 on Sunday for their first win of the six-game exhibition series after a pair of defeats.
Realmuto hit an opposite-field solo homer to right in the fourth at Tokyo Dome, and Mitch Haniger scored the go-ahead run from second in a four-run fifth when Japan starter Shinsaburo Tawata threw wildly for an error on Whit Merrifield’s bunt.
One out later, Molina chased Tawata with an opposite-field, three-run homer to right for a 5-1 lead. The nine-time Gold Glove catcher picked off Seiji Uebayashi in the fourth inning.
“I felt like Yadi’s pick at first was huge,” MLB manager Don Mattingly said. “We got in a little bit of a jam, pitch count is starting to climb, then Yadi’s pick.”
Rookie Juan Soto hit a fly ball in the fourth that was headed for the seats but hit the roof and was caught by right fielder Shogo Akiyama. Soto also hit the roof in Thursday’s warmup game against the Yomiuri Giants.
Winner Scott Barlow allowed one run and five hits in 4 1/3 innings and 65 pitches, striking out four.
Eugenio Suarez hit an RBI double over Seiji Uebayashi in left in a two-run seventh, then scored on Haniger’s single to open a 7-1 lead.
“Having Yadi back there makes my life a lot easier,” Barlow said. “I trust him very much and I trusted my defense as well. Not being afraid of contact and letting them run down balls and make their plays.”
Hotaka Yamakawa and Ryosuke Kikuchi hit run-scoring doubles in the ninth against John Brebbia. Tawata took the loss.
The teams play Tuesday at Hiroshima, then conclude the following two days at Nagoya.