Samurai Japan was on the ropes against a team of European stars hungry for a marquee win in its first game together as Team Europe.

Team Europe was well on its way to pulling the upset when the eighth inning began, but as manager Steve Janssen would muse later, "it ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Japan sprung to life in the eighth, reeling off three consecutive run-scoring hits, capped by a go-ahead single from Yuhei Takai, to rally past Team Europe 4-3 in the first game of their two-game series on Tuesday night at Tokyo Dome.