Former Smokies Jose Veras and Jerry Blevins combined for the final 1.2 innings of work in the second game of the Japan All-Star Series. The MLB All-Stars squad fell to Samurai Japan, the country’s national team, by a score of 8-4.
Veras (2014) entered the game in the bottom of the eighth after Cubs hurler Tsuyoshi Wada with a runner at third, and induced a pair of groundballs to end the frame and limited the inning’s damage. Veras first got Ryosuke Kikuchi to bounce out to Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, prior to Yoshihiro Maru hitting a soft grounder to Veras to finish the frame.
Blevins (2007) followed Veras in the ninth, beginning the top of the inning by getting Sho Nakata to pop out in foul territory to Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. After Seiichi Uchikawa doubled to right, Kenta Imamiya flew out to left, while Nobuhiro Matsuda was intentionally walked to set up a lefty-versus-lefty duel with Ginji Akaminai. The left-handed hitter would subsequently ground out to short to end the threat and keep the MLB All-Stars Team to within four.
The MLB team, however, was unable to bring across a run to fall behind in the series 2-0 to Samurai Japan. Fellow countryman Hisashi Iwakuma (4.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) suffered the defeat after allowing five earned runs on ten hits in four innings of work, while Chichiro Kaneko (5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) earned the victory.
Neither Veras, nor Blevins, factored in the decisions, or received holds.
The entire game story, with video highlights and more can be found by clicking here.
The middle contest of the five-game set will take place on Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m., with Kansas City Royals hurler Jeremy Guthrie expected to get the nod for the MLB squad. Japan, meanwhile, is anticipated to send 23-year-old Takahiro Norimoto to the hill. Norimoto won the Japan Pacific League Rookie of the Year award in 2013, and also paced the circuit in shutouts and complete games in 2014.