Reyes powers MLB stars to sweep of Japan

Wednesday, November 8th 2006, 6:29 am
By: News On 6

FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) _ Jose Reyes hit a walkoff, two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday and the MLB-All-Stars defeated the stars of Japan 5-3 to sweep their five-game tour.

Bill Hall of the Milwaukee Brewers singled to right before Reyes connected off Japan reliever Hisashi Ogura with a shot into the right field seats at Fukuoka Dome.

It was the first time in 72 years that a team of MLB players swept a series in Japan.

``I was just glad to put my team in a position to win again,'' said Reyes, who had 19 homers for the New York Mets this season. ``I was looking for a pitch to hit and I got all of it. We came here to win and didn't want to lose a game.''

Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies tied the score in the bottom of the sixth with a double to right that scored Reyes from second. Andruw Jones gave the major leaguers a 3-2 lead in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly scoring Tadahito Iguchi from third.

Local favorite Naoyuki Omura of the Softbank Hawks tied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out bloop single to left.

``Japan plays with a lot of heart,'' said MLB manager Bruce Bochy. ``But we came over with a real good team and the fans got to see some of the best players in the world during this series.''

Howard broke up a perfect game by Japan starter Tsuyoshi Wada with a single to right in the bottom of the fifth. He later scored the major leaguer's first run on a Kenji Johjima single to right.

Howard, who hit four homers with eight RBIs during the series, was named MVP of the tour.

``I got some good pitches to hit and had a lot of fun here,'' said Howard, who led the major leagues with 58 homers this season for Phillies. ``I had a great time and I'm glad that we were able to win every game.''

Scot Shields of Los Angeles picked up the win after recording the final out in the top of the 10th.

Takahiro Arai led off the top of the fourth with a solo homer to left and Shuichi Murata doubled the lead with another solo shot off MLB starter John Lackey in the same inning.

``I grew up in Fukuoka so it's nice to get a hit in my home town,'' said Murata. ``Their pitchers throw hard and they can pitch to all corners so I'm learning a lot by facing them.''

Iguchi and Johjima were playing in Fukuoka Dome for the first time since leaving Japan for the major leagues.

The last time a team from the majors swept a tour of Japan was when the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig All-Stars went 17-0.