Japan beats MLB All-Stars 6-5 to clinch exhibition series

NAGOYA, Japan -- Takayuki Kai drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead Japan over the MLB All-Stars 6-5 Wednesday and give the hosts a 4-1 lead in their six-game exhibition series.

Kai's double to left off Dan Otero allowed Seiji Uebayashi to score from first as Japan rallied after being down by four runs and clinched the series with one game remaining.

"They did a nice job of battling our guys and putting the ball in play," MLB manager Don Mattingly said. "They had a number of hits the opposite way and they've gotten big hits. You know, there isn't any way to go around it, they did a nice job."

MLB built up a 5-1 lead through six innings but Japan tied the game with four runs off Hector Velazquez in the seventh.

Kai hit an RBi single to right to cut the lead to 5-2.

Kazuki Tanaka then hit a comebacker to Velazquez, who threw the ball into center field, allowing Uebayashi to score from third to make it 5-3.

Pinch hitter Hotaka Yamakawa then hit a game-tying double to the gap in left-center field.

Yadier Molina doubled in a run in the fourth to make it 4-1 and Carlos Santana hit an RBI single in the sixth that scored Amed Rosario from second.

Rhys Hoskins hit two-run homer to left in the second off Japan starter Nao Higashihama, and Juan Soto drove in a run in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Kazuma Okamoto hit a solo homer in the second off MLB starter Junior Guerra.

Yu Sato worked a scoreless eighth for the win and Yuki Matsui recorded three outs in the ninth for the save.

Otero took the loss. The final game is on Thursday at Nagoya Dome.