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Rob Smaal

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Lions rattle Giants

by Rob Smaal (Jun 10, 2008)

With thunder roaring overhead, Craig Brazell and Hiroyuki Nakajima delivered the rainmakers Monday night at Tokyo Dome, leading the Seibu Lions to a 9-3 victory over the Yomiuri Giants as interleague play continued.

Brazell smashed his Pacific League-leading 17th home run in the third inning, a mammoth three-run shot to right-center, and Nakajima did likewise the following frame with a three-run blast of his own. Both taters came off Giants starter Seth Greisinger, who took the loss and saw his record fall to 6-4.

"It just wasn't me," said Brazell. "It was a team effort tonight. It's a long season and I just hope I can keep it (the home runs) going."

Brazell and Takumi Kuriyama each had four hits on the night. Brazell drove in four runs while Kuriyama scored three times. Nakajima, whose homer was his 13th long ball this season, was 2-for-3 with four runs scored for the Lions and drew two walks, while G.G. Sato drove in two runs with an RBI single in the first inning and a sacrifice fly in the ninth to cap the scoring.

Fourteen-year veteran Fumiya Nishiguchi (3-3) got the win for the Leos. The veteran right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings of work. Seibu reliever Koji Onuma tossed three innings of hitless baseball for Hisanobu Watanabe's club and Shinya Okamoto struck out the side in the ninth.

Greisinger allowed seven runs on 11 hits through just four innings. He struck out four and walked a pair.

Alex Ramirez lined a two-run single up the middle in the bottom of the first inning to put Yomiuri up 2-1 after Seibu's Sato had singled in a run with a flare to right in the top of the first.

Giants rookie Ryuichi Kajimae belted a solo homer off Nishiguchi in the fourth to account for Yomiuri's third run.

"We went up 1-0 right off the bat, but I quickly relinquished that lead in the bottom of the first," said Nishiguchi. "I was a bit nervous out there today, but my teammates really performed well at the plate and I was able to hang in there for five innings."

The win by the PL-leading Lions snapped Yomiuri's four-game winning streak. On Sunday, Tetsuya Utsumi allowed three hits through eight innings while striking out nine as the Giants shut out Seibu 4-0.

"We lost yesterday so we were determined to get the victory today," said Seibu skipper Watanabe. "We did not want to lose two straight to the Giants. Our 3-4-5 hitters are all clicking now."

Seibu is now 38-23-1 on the season while the Giants are 29-30-1. Both clubs have identical 9-7 records in interleague play.

In other Monday interleague action, the Carp slapped around the Softbank Hawks 6-1 at Hiroshima Stadium while at Nagoya Dome, the Chunichi Dragons defeated the Rakuten Eagles 6-3. At Koshien Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-1, and the BayStars pounded the Nippon-Ham Fighters 13-3 at Yokohama Stadium.

(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2008)


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