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As George Arias rounded the bases, he was pumped, thrilled, excited. But he showed no exuberance, trotting back to the dugout in a cool, soothing manner like the picture of the Kirin Beer ad he had just hit with a monstrous 147-meter blast at the Tokyo Dome.

Inside, though, Arias was like a little kid.

“I didn’t really get ecstatic. But trust me, I really wanted to jump around in the dugout,” said a smiling Arias, who was voted Most Valuable Player in Friday’s first game of the 2002 All-Star Series.

Arias’ solo homer in the seventh inning was the game-winner in the Central League’s 4-1 victory over the Pacific League.

“It’s been a while since I hit one that well. It really was a surprise,” said Arias, who hit the homer, ironically, off former Orix teammate Kazuo Yamaguchi. “To tell you the truth, when I got back (in the dugout), I went inside, looked at my hands, and I was just like, ‘Wow. How did I hit that?’ “

In front of 40,346 at the Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and the Nippon Ham Fighters, Arias wasn’t the only hero from the Tigers.

Trey Moore, who allowed no hits in two innings was awarded the win, and third baseman Atsushi Kataoka cranked a two-run shot in the eighth for the security runs.

Both Moore and Kataoka were chosen as Valuable Players. Seibu southpaw Koji Mitsui, Yokohama ace Daisuke Miura rounded out the Valuable Players list.

The game started with two solid pitchers in Mitsui and Hanshin’s Kei Igawa. Mitsui, who was selected to the squad after Daisuke Matsuzaka opted out with a shoulder injury, performed the better of the two, allowing two hits and fanning one in three innings.

Miura, who took over for the Central from the fourth, threw just five pitches in the fifth inning including a strikeout.

Igawa gave up the game’s first run to the Pacific League in the bottom of the third, when Nippon Ham’s Michihiro Ogasawara drove in Daiei’s Tadahito Iguchi with a base hit to center.

The Central League came right back in the fourth, as Giants’ outfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi blasted a triple that hit the center field wall off Lotte reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi.

Giants slugger Hideki Matsui hit a high sacrifice fly to center on the first pitch to drive in Takahashi from third.

The game moved again in the seventh, when Arias hit his dinger to left field. Moore, who pitched the sixth and the seventh, felt like he was a lucky winner.

“I was at the right place at the right time,”said Moore, who threw 30 pitches in his two innings of work.

“I knew after George’s homer, we had the lead.”

It was a dream day for the Hanshin Tigers. Three out of five of the top awards went to one team.

“We’ve got a lot of great players,” Moore said, “and when we do something like this, it’s just living proof of our ball club.”

Tigers big in Kanto

Keio Department Store Co. will open a Hanshin Tigers shop July 19 in Tokyo, the first in the Kanto region aside from those in ballparks, Keio said Friday.

Tokyo-based Keio said the exclusive Hanshin Tigers shop in its Shinjuku store will sell goods related to the Osaka-based professional baseball team. The goods will include megaphones, uniforms, and stuffed dolls.

Keio has a close relationship with Hanshin Department Store Ltd., such as exchanging information on their products and events. Hanshin Department Store and the Hanshin Tigers are units of the Hanshin Electric Railway Co. group.

The baseball club’s strong performance also pushed Keio toward selling such products, the company said.

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