Adrian Burnside gave the Giants six shutout innings Wednesday night at Tokyo Dome as Yomiuri breached the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Burnside (3-1), an Australian lefty in his first year in Japan, limited Orix to four hits and Yoshinobu Takahashi and Michihiro Ogasawara each drove in a run as the Giants edged the Buffaloes 2-1. It was the third straight win for Yomiuri and improved the club's record to 33-32-1 overall and 13-9 in interleague play.
"One of my goals this year was to throw six innings, but it's even more exciting that we got the win," said Burnside, who struck out six and did not issue a walk.
The Giants bullpen held the lead--barely--before closer Marc Kroon got a four-out save, all on strikeouts.
"I was real pleased that Burnside gave us six great innings tonight," said Giants manager Tatsunori Hara.
Orix right-hander Ramon Ortiz (3-4) took the loss. He went five innings, throwing just 47 pitches and allowing two runs on five hits. The Buffs are now 31-38 after suffering their third loss in a row, including Tuesday's 4-3 defeat to Yomiuri in Fukushima.
The Giants drew first blood in the third when Hayato Sakamoto hustled into second after lining a ball to the outfield off Buffs starter Ortiz. Sakamoto tagged up and went to third on a flyball to deep right by Burnside and Takahashi then drilled an Ortiz delivery off the wall in left for an RBI single.
The Giants' second run wasn't nearly as complicated. "Guts" Ogasawara led off the bottom of the fourth by clobbering an 0-1 offering from Ortiz just over the fence in left for an opposite-field home run, his 11th of the season.
The Giants dodged a couple of bullets in both the seventh and eighth innings.
In the seventh, Kentaro Nishimura, who relieved Burnside to start the inning, soon had runners at the corners with two out courtesy of a Sakamoto error, a single and a fielder's choice groundout. Hara waved in Soichi Fujita from the bullpen and he got Mitsutaka Goto to ground out on a comebacker to the mound on his first pitch to quell the uprising.
An inning later, Orix pinch-hitter Ikki Shimamura hit his first career home run, a solo job off Giants relief man Kiyoshi Toyoda, to cut the lead to one run. Shinji Shimoyama then hit a grounder to the pitcher for the second out of the inning before Tomotaka Sakaguchi tripled over the head of Takahiro Suzuki in center, who seemed to get a late jump on the ball. Toyoda walked Alex Cabrera to put runners on the corners with two out and Hara brought in Kroon to face Orix cleanup hitter Tuffy Rhodes, who was called out on a check-swing third strike.
Kroon then came back out for the ninth and, mixing off-speed stuff with his 160-kph fastball, struck out the side to pick up his 19th save of the season.
(IHT/Asahi: June 19,2008)