Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a solo home run in the sixth inning of the Major League Baseball All-Stars’ 8-7 win over a split Japan squad on Tuesday in Nishinomiya, Japan.
The exhibition game at Koshien Stadium precedes a five-game postseason tour in Japan for the All-Stars.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria provided the All-Stars’ biggest hit of the game with a grand slam over the center-field wall in the fifth inning.
“I was able to get a good pitch and drive it,” Longoria said. “We don’t know a lot about these guys, so you’ve got to try to come into the game and put the bat on the ball.”
Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, who batted leadoff, scored on Longoria’s blast and also scored the game’s first run in the top of the fourth.
Escobar finished with two hits and two runs scored in three at-bats. Perez finished with one RBI on two hits. Royals backup catcher Erik Kratz saw action at first base and singled in the eighth in his only at-bat. But he was thrown out later in the inning trying to steal second base.
Free agent left-hander Chris Capuano picked up the win after striking out three and holding Japan to one hit over four scoreless innings.
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie pitched a scoreless fifth inning, inducing a pop out to first, a line out to left field and a ground out to second.
The MLB All-Stars’ lead grew to 8-1 in the seventh after a homer by the Astros’ Dexter Fowler.
But Japan then made it a one-run game by scoring five runs off free agent left-hander Franklin Morales in the seventh and one off the Nationals’ Jerry Blevins in the eighth.
Tampa Bay’s Jeff Beliveau got the last two outs of the ninth inning, earning the save.
“Tonight was more than we could have asked for,” said All-Stars manager John Farrell, of the Boston Red Sox. “We were able to get every position player on the field, we were able to go to our bullpen, but their competitiveness forced us to make some plays.”
The five-game series against Japan will start on Wednesday at Kyocera Dome in Osaka. There are also games at Tokyo Dome, Sapporo Dome and Cellular Stadium in Okinawa.
The series marks the first time since 2006 that an MLB All-Star team has visited Japan. The Japan team was made up of members of the country’s two most popular professional teams, the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.