NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Canada drew first blood in a two-game exhibition series against Japan on Thursday, jumping on starter Shun Yamaguchi for an early lead before holding on for a 6-5 victory.
Canadian starter Phillippe Aumont got the win in the series opener at Okinawa Cellular Stadium after throwing three scoreless innings in which he struck out one, while giving up a hit and a pair of walks.
The visitors did all of their damage in the top of the second inning with Yomiuri Giants righty Yamaguchi on the mound.
Jordan Lennerton opened the scoring with an RBI double before Yamaguchi walked Rene Tosoni with the bases loaded to score Charles Leblanc. Dalton Pompey brought home Lennerton with a single to right before Eric Wood flew to left for a three-RBI double.
Masataka Yoshida put Japan on the board in the fourth, scoring Seiya Suzuki with a single against right-hander Scott Richmond. Yoshida cut the deficit to 6-2 later in the inning when he came home on a groundout by Kensuke Kondo.
Ryosuke Kikuchi scored to make it 6-4 in the seventh, reaching on an error after Wood failed to collect a Hideto Asamura groundball at third base.
Japan put the tying runner on base in the eighth, but Canadian reliever Dustin Molleken retired the side by getting Hayato Sakamoto to fly out.
Kondo closed the gap to a single run with an RBI double in the ninth, but closer Scott Mathieson got the save after Nobuhiro Matsuda flew out with the tying run on base.
Game 2 of the series is scheduled for Friday in Naha.