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Lions bounce back to maul Marines

by Jim Allen (Apr 11, 2008)

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama--One night after the Lions' offense stalled, Marines right-hander Yasutomo Kubo provided the jump Seibu needed on Thursday at Seibu Dome.

The Lions, who had a six-game win streak snapped here on Wednesday, smacked out a season-high 17 hits in a 15-5 demolition of Chiba Lotte. The win was the Lions' ninth in their last 11 games.

Seibu starter Hideaki Wakui (1-2) allowed two runs in six innings. He gave up three hits, while walking two, striking out eight and hitting a batter.

"He was not outstanding, but OK," Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe said.

The 21-year-old, who led Japan with 17 wins last season, had entered the game with a 1.52 ERA. Unfortunately, his teammates had scored just five runs in all three of his starts.

His teammates matched that run total in the first inning against Kubo (1-2).

"It felt great to come out of the chute like that," said Watanabe, whose men lost 10-1 on Wednesday after scoring four or more runs in nine straight games.

Following back-to-back one-out singles, Craig Brazell broke the ice with a looper over second for an RBI single on a pitch below the zone.

"That was quality hitting on his part," Watanabe said of his new cleanup man. "Up until now that was where he would swing and miss. He is quickly becoming accustomed to the game here."

Although two of Seibu's first three hits came off pitches out of the zone, the effect was telling. Lions hitters began feasting on high pitches as Kubo contracted pitching influenza and couldn't keep anything down.

G.G. Sato followed Brazell with a two-run double, then scored on Takeya Nakamura's double. With two down, Nakamura scored on a single by Toru Hosokawa. The Lions catcher also capped Seibu's six-run fourth inning with a three-run double.

In the second inning, Brazell hit a two-run home run, his seventh of the season, giving Wakui a seven-run lead before the Marines even had a hit.

Kubo pitched a 1-2-3 third, but was pulled after giving up back-to-back hits in the fourth. The right-hander, who was the PL's rookie of the year in 2005, was charged with nine runs on 10 hits in three-plus innings.

"I left some pitches up, but to allow them to just keep hitting like that makes me feel that I am lacking strength," Kubo said. "In every single game, I am not making good starts. There's no excuse for this."

Despite the scoreline, the home team heard some boos in the ninth inning, when reliever Shinji Taninaka surrendered consecutive homers to Tomoya Satozaki, Shoitsu Omatsu and Jose Ortiz.


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