Tokyo, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) - Takahiro Norimoto and three relievers combined on a no-hitter to lead Samurai Japan to a 4-0 win over the Major League Baseball All-Stars on Saturday in the 2014 Japan Series.
The Japanese stars have captured each of the first three in the five-game set that continues Sunday at the Tokyo Dome.
Norimoto struck out six and did not walk a batter in five perfect innings of work. He threw only 60 pitches, 20 shy of the 80-pitch limit for starters in the series.
Yuki Nishi issued a walk to Lucas Duda starting the sixth, but then set down the next three batters. He hit Robinson Cano leading off the seventh, but again retired the next three, including strikeouts of Justin Morneau and Yasiel Puig.
Kazuhisa Makita ran into trouble in the eighth when he walked Salvador Perez to start the inning and Dexter Fowler with one out. Alcides Escobar then struck out and Ben Zobrist grounded out.
Yuji Nishino had no problems in the ninth, fanning Jose Altuve and retiring Carlos Santana and Morneau on ground balls to complete the gem. Second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi made a nice play on Santana's hard-hit grounder, taking away a potential hit.
The Japanese stars did all their scoring against Jeremy Guthrie on a pair of two-run homers. Hayato Sakamoto followed a Sho Nakata double in the second with a blast over the left field wall, and Nakata drilled a shot over the center field wall in the third after a Nobuhiro Matsuda single.
Guthrie went the first five innings for the MLB stars.
After Sunday's game in Tokyo, the teams will play the finale of the series on Tuesday in Sapporo.