Tomoaki Kanemoto of the Hanshin Tigers drove home three runs, including a pair of homers, as the Central League beat the Pacific League 5-3 on Wednesday in the second and last game of the Japanese baseball All-Star series.
Kanemoto, left fielder of the Central League's front-running Tigers, went 2-for-3 and picked up MVP honors for the game. "I feel great," Kanemoto told a crowd of 25,108 at Chiba Marine Stadium, just east of Tokyo.
Despite the loss, the Pacific League still holds the advantage over the Central League in All-Star games with a record of 71 wins, 61 losses and eight ties. The two leagues played for a 4-4 tie in the opening game held in Osaka, western Japan, on Tuesday.
In Wednesday's action, the Pacific League took a 2-0 lead on Kanemoto's solo shots -- first off Lotte pitcher Naoyuki Shimizu in the first inning and a second off former Colorado Rockies pitcher Nate Minchey of the Lotte Marines in the third. Kanemoto also hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the fifth that put the Central League onto a 3-1 lead. Former San Diego Padre George Arias, now of the Tigers, smashed a solo homer in the top of the sixth before the Central League added its fifth and final run in the seventh.