With the 2014 baseball season over, MLB compiled a roster of 29 players for the Japan All-Star Series that kicked off early Tuesday morning with an exhibition game against a Japanese team assembled with players from the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants.
Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana, who was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2004, opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Santana stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and broke the scoreless tie with a double play.
After striking out in his first at-bat, Yasiel Puig jumped on the first pitch for an RBI single to right field that extended MLB’s lead to 2-0:
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria added a grand slam in the fifth inning. However, the MLB team’s comfortable lead was cut to 8-7 in the eighth with Japan threatening to tie the game. That was when Drew Butera took matters into his own hands and picked off the runner on second base to end the inning:
Butera’s pickoff was reminiscent of a play he made against the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning of a tied game. Though the Dodgers ultimately fell in walk-off fashion.
MLB went on to win the game and will play Game 1 of the series Wednesday at 1 a.m. PT, which will be broadcast on MLB Network. The exhibition game will re-air Tuesday night on MLB Network at 6 p.m. PT.