Japan no-hits MLB All-Stars in 4-0 win in Game 3
TOKYO (AP) — Hayato Sakamoto and Sho Nakata both hit two-run homers and starter Takahiro Norimoto combined with three pitchers on a no-hitter as Japan beat the Major League Baseball All-Stars 4-0 Saturday to take a 3-0 lead in their five-game series.
Norimoto, who went 14-10 with a 3.02 ERA this season for the Rakuten Eagles, struck out six over five perfect innings to pick up the win.
“It’s too good to be true,” Norimoto said. “I wanted to see how my pitches would work against MLB hitters. The fact that my teammate (Motohiro) Shima was catching made me feel at ease and I was able to perform as usual. The atmosphere at the park was really nice. It was the best outing of my career.”
Yuki Nishi took over from Norimoto and struck out four with one walk over two innings. Kazuhisa Makita struck out two batters in the eighth and Yuji Nishino retired the side in the ninth.
“The story tonight was in the hit column with a zero on it,” MLB manager John Farrell said. “Norimoto was outstanding. He was very efficient. He has a powerful fastball and very good late action to go with his split, his slider and cutter.”
Sakamoto connected off MLB starter Jeremy Guthrie in the second inning and Nakata made it 4-0 in the third with a blast off Guthrie over the left field wall.
“I think it was a two-seamer,” Nakata said of the pitch he hit over the wall. “I was looking for a good pitch to get a nice swing on and I’m glad I was able to hit one over the fence.”
Guthrie took the loss after giving up four runs on five hits over five innings.
Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch on the right foot in the seventh inning and left the game.
“He’s gone for an x-ray on his right small toe and we don’t have any results back from the images that are being taken as we speak,” Farrell said.
The MLB All-Stars won an exhibition game 8-7 before the start of the series but have scored just four runs over the first three games of the series.
Chris Capuano will pitch Game 4 while Shintaro Fujinami will take the mound for Japan.
“We will visit with our coaching staff and try to come up with a lineup that has the ability to go up against Fujinami, who we know is a very good pitcher,” Farrell said.