Samurai Japan took a commanding 2-0 series lead with an 8-4 win over the MLB All-Stars at the Tokyo Dome on Friday, continuing their dominance in Game 2 of the 2014 best-of-five Japan Series.

Friday’s contest was nothing like Game 1, with runs scored early and often. Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma was probably expecting a different outcome in his return to his native Japan, as he told’s Joey Nowak how happy he was to be playing before the contest:

“I feel very honored. I was really looking forward to coming back here as a pitcher for the American team, so I’m very happy for that.”

MLB Network shared the starting lineup for the MLB All-Stars:

Fans expecting a pitching battle similar to Game 1 were in for a rude shock in the second inning, with the hosts cracking the contest wide open by scoring the first three runs.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Yuki Yanagita hit a massive triple toward centre field off Hisashi Iwakuma, displaying some impressive speed by making it to third base in the process.

The MLB All-Stars had gone 11 innings without a run until that point but quickly hit back through Justin Moreau, who went yard on a full count to announce the arrival of the visitors in a big way.

MLB Gifs has footage of the two-run home run:

Both starting pitchers continued to struggle: Ben Zobrist hit a triple off Chihiro Kaneko before scoring on a ground out by Jose Altuve, tying things up in the bottom of the third.

Samurai Japan immediately reclaimed the lead with two runs in the fourth, however, and once again both runs came with two outs on the board.

MLB Gifs were busy admiring Iwakuma’s impressive drop when the hosts struck:

Yanagita once again started things with a single that drove in Nobuhiro Matsuda before Ryosuke Kikushi drove in Hikaru Itoh, ending Iwakuma’s day.

The Seattle Times‘ Ryan Divish shared the Seattle Mariners’ less-than-impressive statistics:

The hosts increased their lead in the sixth inning, with Yanagita finally getting a deserved run. The speedster stole second before a wild pitch from Rob Wooten saw him advance to third, and a single from Kikuchi was enough to make the score 6-3.

With speed to boot, the Japan Times‘ Jason Coskrey couldn’t help but notice Yagitani took a liberal approach to baserunning:

Matsuda added a home run on a fly ball at the top of the eighth, hitting it deep to left field. Itoh added another on a double from Yanagita that saw the 26-year-old advance to third base thank to an error from Dexter Fowler, but Jose Veras stepped in and recorded the last two outs to stop the hosts from piling on even more runs.

Zobrist pulled one back in the bottom of the eighth, dashing home after a Robinson Cano single, but the match appeared to be well over by that point. Fowler struck out swinging to provide Game 2 with a fitting end.

Yanagita was the standout performer for the hosts, recording four RBi’s, three hits and a run in four appearances at the plate and dispelling any notions Japan could only win games through their pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig was walked twice in two appearances and didn’t make a big impact fielding, as the MLB All-Stars were simply blown out on Friday. Down 2-0 in the series and with Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Wada both struggling tremendously, the team is in dire need of answers heading into Game 3 on Saturday, also at the Tokyo Dome.


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