OSAKA – Akinori Iwamura hit a pair of sacrifice flies and Hisashi Iwakuma threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of a wild Yu Darvish, leading Japan to an 8-2 rout of Australia in a World Baseball Classic exhibition game Tuesday.
Tampa Bay Rays leadoff man Iwamura, batting ninth, first put Japan ahead 2-1 in the second inning and then made it 4-1 in the fourth by lofting the ball to left field both times at Kyocera Dome.
A minute of silence was held before the game for the victims of Australia’s deadly wildfires.
Australia got on the board first in the top of the second, taking advantage of Darvish’s wildness. The Nippon Ham Fighters ace loaded the bases with two walks and a hit-by-pitch before allowing an infield single to Grant Karlsen.
Darvish gave up one run and two hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out one.
Iwakuma ended a bases-loaded threat in the second and went on to keep the Aussies scoreless through the end of the fifth, allowing only one runner — a third-inning double.
Japan took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a bases-loaded walk by Kenji Johjima and Iwamura’s sac fly.
The 2006 WBC champion broke the game open with a three-run fifth that made it 7-1.
Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 with an infield single and a run scored.
Yokohama BayStars duo Shuichi Murata and Seiichi Uchikawa also drove in two runs apiece. Japan had 10 hits to Australia’s eight.
The two teams meet again Wednesday in the two-game exhibition series.