Yanagita’s home run off Yates lifts Japan over MLB in tour opener
TOKYO — Yuki Yanagita hit a game-ending, two-run home run off Kirby Yates in the ninth inning, and Japan beat the MLB All-Stars 7-6 on Friday in the opener of a six-game exhibition series.
Juan Soto, Carlos Santana and Amed Rosario homered to build a 6-4 MLB lead.
Yates relieved Collin McHugh to start the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Seiji Uebayashi, who stole second. Pinch-hitter Tsubasa Aizawa had a one-out RBI single, and Yanagita homered to center two pitches later before 44,943 at Tokyo Dome.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s tough to lose a game like that,” MLB manager Don Mattingly said. “You feel like you played well enough to win . ... Other than that last inning, I thought we played well.”
Rosario had a solo homer in the third and Santana hit a three-run homer in the fifth for a 4-1 lead, but Shogo Akiyama hit a three-double double off Matt Andriese in the bottom half. Soto hit an opposite field two-run homer to left in the sixth.