Team Europe manager Steve Janssen of Belgium smiles while talking with Team Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo, center, before their friendly baseball game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Shizuo Kambayashi
March 10, 2015

TOKYO (AP) Japan rallied with three runs in the eighth inning to beat Team Europe 4-3 Tuesday in the first of a two-game series.

The European team took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning on a double by Oscar Angulo that scored two runs at Tokyo Dome. Nobuhiro Matsuda drove in the game-tying run and Yuhei Takai singled in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

The series is part of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's efforts to have baseball make a return at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Baseball and softball were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games but could make a return in 2020 under reforms made by the International Olympic Committee.

The European team, making its international debut, was made up of players from six countries, mostly the Netherlands and Italy.

Japan reliever Katsuki Matayoshi picked up the win after recording thee outs in the eighth.

The series wraps up on Wednesday at the same venue.

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