Bonds strikes out three times in loss to Japanese all-starsPosted: Sunday November 10, 2002 10:59 AM
Updated: Monday November 11, 2002 12:20 AM
TOKYO (AP) -- Barry Bonds opened a seven-game all-star series with one of his worst games in 1 1/2 years.
Bonds struck out three times as the major league all-stars lost to their Japanese counterparts 8-4 Sunday in the opener of their exhibition series.
Bonds, who homered twice Saturday against the Japanese champion Yomiuri Giants, fanned three times against Yomiuri right-hander Koji Uehara, who also struck out Jason Giambi twice.
During the regular season, Bonds has not struck out three times in a game since Aug. 8, 2001 -- when he was called out three times against Cincinnati and argued with plate umpire Jerry Meals.
Bonds, expected to win his fifth NL MVP award Monday, also was MVP of the 2000 exhibition tour of Japan, hitting four homers with nine RBIs.
Uehara, who led the Central League with 17 wins, allowed one run and five hits in six innings and struck out eight. He allowed just one hit in the first four innings, a single by Giambi in the second.
"He had a great forkball," said Giambi, who also homered twice Saturday "He threw it hard enough that you couldn't sit on it and he made quality pitches all night."
Uehara allowed a solo homer in the fifth to Minnesota's Torii Hunter.
"I really wanted the win," Uehara said. "It felt great to strike out Bonds and Giambi. The only mistake I made was that slider to Hunter."
Hideki Matsui hit a two-run double off Florida's Brad Penny as Japan went ahead in a five-run third. Matsui, who wants to play in the major leagues, is a free agent and can start negotiating with all teams starting 10 a.m. EST Tuesday.
Matsui went 1-for-4 Saturday in Yomiuri's 8-1 loss.
"They pitched me tough yesterday," Matsui said. "But I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable at the plate and am getting into the mood of this series."
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, a former star in Japan, went 0-for-4.
Alex Cabrera homered and drove in three runs for the Japanese all-stars. Cabrera, who used to play for Arizona and tied Japan's season record with 55 homered, connected in the seventh off Philadelphia's Randy Wolf for a 6-1 lead.
"I didn't hold anything back," Cabrera said. "Everybody is really excited about this series and I was happy to contribute."
Norihiro Nakamura of the Kintetsu Buffaloes and Yoshitomo Tani of the Orix BlueWave both hit RBI singles in the seventh to make it 8-1. The Japanese all-stars had 18 hits -- including 15 singles -- off Penny, Wolf, Mike Fetters and Scott Schoeneweis.
Penny, who allowed a go-ahead third-inning homer to Hanshin's Makoto Imaoka, gave up five runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings and was the loser.