• Kyodo


Yoshinobu Takahashi hit a three-run homer and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three shutout innings Sunday as Japan crushed an Italian Serie A select team 10-0 in a warmup baseball match for the Athens Olympics.

Yomiuri Giants outfielder Takahashi drove in a pair of runs to help Japan build a 4-0 lead through six innings before his homer stretched the lead against the squad of players picked from the Italian baseball league.

Seibu Lions right-hander Matsuzaka and four relievers, including Yomiuri’s Koji Uehara and Lotte Marines closer Masahide Kobayashi, combined to shut out the Italians.

Japan opens its Olympic campaign next Sunday in a preliminary-round game against Italy.

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