The big boys found a new way to win, and it had nothing to do with anyone’s power.

The major league All-Star team stuck to the short ball and timely hitting, while the Japanese All-Stars made critical errors as the visiting squad scraped out a 12-7 victory to knot the seven-game series 3-3 on Saturday at the Tokyo Dome.

“First of all, we came out of the blocks batting real well,” said MLB manager Art Howe, whose starters all had a base hit by the fifth inning. “They did too. But we kept adding on.”

The MLB squad scored five of their 12 runs on a sacrifice fly, a broken-up double play or on Japan’s errors. But in the beginning, it was all about consistent hitting, as they rocked Japan starter Hisashi Iwakuma of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes.

New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi lined a single to left to drive in a pair of runs — the second run thanks to Takayuki Shimizu’s poor arm and aim from left field — to take an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

“It was a curve ball that he left up in the strike zone and I went the other way,” Giambi said. “I’m just happy to contribute to a rally.”

There wasn’t much major-league power on display, except for Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams’ first home run of the tour. He crushed a solo homer to deep right field in the top of the eighth off Seibu Lions reliever Shinji Mori.

As the big leaguers mounted their hits in the early innings, leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki came up in the fifth with the runners on second and third, and slashed a grounder to second baseman Takuro Ishii.

Ichiro had Ishii moving the other way, causing the Yokohama BayStar to simply bat the ball down from rolling into the outfield. Minnesota’s A.J. Pierzynski scored from third on the play to make it 8-5 and the winning run in a game that lasted over four hours.

Later in the inning, Rollins scored after first baseman Michihiro Ogasawara failed to pick up what would’ve been a double play on Williams’ chopper to third.

Kazuo “Little” Matsui of the Seibu Lions cracked a pair of home runs to try and his Japan All-Stars in the game.

But every time the home team forced a comeback, the MLB squad returned with their own.

After Matsui’s home run in the first cut into the lead to 2-1, Minnesota’s Jacque Jones, Pierzynski and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins all singled to load the bases for Ichiro.

Ichiro’s bat is still not up to his regular-season form. He grounded to short for a double play, but Jones scored on the play to make it 3-1.

After Alomar walked on balls, Williams followed with a blooper to left to drive in a run. Aside from a bases-loaded walk in Game 4, it was Williams’ first RBI in the series.

Bonds crushed a hard line drive to right field to bring home Alomar for the third run of the inning and a 5-1 lead.

One only needed to look down the MLB score card to see how badly they humiliated Iwakuma. Bonds’ double with two out in the fourth marked the MLB squad’s 10th base hit and after Ichiro’s infield single in the fifth, all starters had at least one base hit.

“They’re amazing indeed,” said Iwakuma, the losing pitcher who was banged around for 12 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. “I’m not saying this because I lost, but I enjoyed it. . . . I want to make the most of this experience next year. Still, I’m disappointed.”

Arizona Diamondback Miguel Batista didn’t fare much better giving up four runs — three earned — on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Los Angeles closer Eric Gagne came in the eighth, with the runners on first and second with no outs. The score was 10-7 with the heart of the lineup up to bat.

But Gagne struck out Kintetsu’s Norihiro Nakamura and Seibu’s Alex Cabrera, and got Yomiuri slugger Hideki Matsui to ground out to end the threat. Gagne was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the game.

Yomiuri Giants ace Koji Uehara, who held the MLB squad to one run on five hits in Game 1 of the series, will start the finale of the seven-game series at the Tokyo Dome on Sunday.

Little Matsui, big bat

Kazuo Matsui couldn’t ask for much else. After hitting his first home run in his first at-bat in the first inning, the Seibu Lions shortstop said “This is great. I couldn’t ask for much more.”

So much for being humble.

In his third at-bat, Matsui sent one into the left-field bleachers in the Japan All-Star’s loss to the major league All-Star team on Saturday at the Tokyo Dome. What’s more amazing, the switch-hitter blasted the two round-trippers from both sides of the plate.

“I don’t usually hit a home run from both left and right, even during the season, so I was surprised,” said Matsui, who hit 36 home runs this year. He became the first switch-hitter ever to hit more than 30 homers in a season.

Matsui’s first homer came off MLB starter Miguel Batista of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Matsui, batting left, carried the ball 111 meters, barely reaching the first rows by the right-field post.

Matsui delivered the second one from the right side of the plate in the fourth. He reached up on a high fastball off reliever Scott Schoeneweis of the Anaheim Angels for a 125-meter homer to left field.

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