FUKUOKA — Moises Alou drove in a pair of runs in the first inning Tuesday to lead his major league teammates to a 7-2 win over the Japanese All-Stars in Game 4 of an eight-game exhibition series.
The major league stars took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Hank Blalock single that scored Carl Crawford from third.
Vernon Wells and David Ortiz hit back-to-back singles before Alou hit a bases-loaded single to left that scored two more runs. Brad Wilkerson doubled in a run to make it 4-0 before 39,000 at Fukuoka Dome.
The major league stars improved to 4-0 with the win and have now won eight straight games against their Japanese counterparts dating back to the 2002 series when the MLB players took the last four games.
Alou led the Chicago Cubs this season with a career-high 39 homers and 106 RBIs but the team declined an $11.5 million mutual option on the 38-year-old outfielder and will pay him a $2.5 million buyout.
Jake Peavy, who went 15-6 in the regular season for the San Diego Padres, held the Japanese stars to two runs on six hits over five innings for the win.
“We’ve got a good mix on this team,” said Peavy, who had a major league-leading 2.27 ERA this season. “This team has speed, power and plays great defense. Hopefully we can keep it going and win a few more games here.”
San Diego manager Bruce Bochy was impressed with his starter.
“To me, Peavy is one of the best pitchers in the game today,” said Bochy. “He has great stuff, is a great competitor and has a huge heart.”
World Series MVP Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox left the team after the first three games because of a sore left hamstring but the major leaguers had no trouble scoring runs in his absence.
Blalock connected for a solo homer to right in the second to give the MLB stars a 5-0 lead. It was the seventh homer for the major leaguers on this tour. The Japanese team doesn’t have any homers so far.
“I was late on the first pitch,” said Blalock. “So I got my bat head out and just had to make a good swing.”
Alex Cora of the Los Angeles Dodgers doubled in a run in the sixth and Ortiz hit a towering double off the wall in center that scored another run in the seventh.
The teams next play in Osaka on Wednesday before traveling to Sapporo and Nagoya. The series winds up back in Tokyo on Nov. 14.
Alou took part in a pre-game, home-run derby. He hit four homers as he and Boston slugger Ortiz defeated the Japanese pair of Kenji Jojima and Shigenobu Shima 9-1.
The Japanese stars made three errors in Tuesday’s game, including two by All-Star catcher Jojima.
The last time a team of major-league All-Stars toured Japan was in 2002, finishing with a record of 5-3.
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays opened the 2004 MLB regular season by splitting a pair of games at the Tokyo Dome. Since 1908, there have been 34 tours of Japan by MLB All-Star teams, Negro League teams, and individual MLB teams.
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