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John E. Gibson

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Giants' Greisinger grinds up old team Swallows

by John E. Gibson (Jul 4, 2008)

Whatever hindered Yomiuri Giants Seth Greisinger from winning a game the past month was nonexistent on Thursday at Tokyo Dome.

The big right-hander was able to shut the mouths of his critics, and shut out the Tokyo Yakult Swallows over eight innings in a 6-1 win before 37,058.

Since coming over from Yakult as a free agent in the offseason, Greisinger (7-6) hasn't always resembled the pitcher who was 16-8 with a 2.84 ERA last season. Instead, opposing batters came in hitting .293 off one the Giants' prize additions, and he was a mediocre 6-6.

The 1.90-meter hurler blamed his funk on something that has plagued him for years.

"I'm just glad we're out of June. In my career, I've always struggled in May and June," Greisinger admitted after his first victory since beating Orix in a June 4 interleague game. He said his return to form was the result of increased focus on mechanics.

"I talked to the two pitching coaches and we kind of discussed what I wanted to do; and we worked on a couple of things in the bullpen and I think they paid off."

Greisinger threw a season-high 124 pitches, allowed six hits with no walks, while fanning nine.

"They didn't hit too many balls hard tonight. It feels good. I thought I had the same kind of game against SoftBank," he said, referring to a June 21 game in which he allowed one run in a seven-inning no-decision, "I just had a little trouble with Hiroshima," a five-inning stint on June 27 in which he allowed five runs.

"Like I said, just becoming more consistent is what I need to do."

Yoshinobu Takahashi showed consistency, slugging his 10th homer of the season in the eighth inning and giving him double digits in longballs for the 11th consecutive year.

Michihiro Ogasawara also homered and Hayato Sakamoto added three singles and an RBI, while reaching base safely in seven consecutive plate appearances over the final two games of the three-game set.

Yakult rookie Mikinori Kato (0-2) got the start, and got through a shaky first inning. He nailed Takahashi in the back with his fifth pitch of the game, and a hit and an out later intentionally walked Alex Ramirez to load the bases.

Kato got what looked like a routine double-play grounder from Yoshitomo Tani, but the 12th year veteran, who later notched his 300th career double, beat the throw to first to avoid a twin-killing and plate the game's first run.

Kato's biggest mistake was a low 1-1 offspeed pitch to Ogasawara, who reached down and golfed it halfway up the seats in right center for a 2-0 Yomiuri lead.

It was out of the strike zone, but Ogasawara is a very good bad-ball hitter.

"I wasn't worried about technique or anything like that. It was the result of me just wanting to put a good swing on it," the slugger said of his 13th homer. "Greisinger was doing such a good job out there and I wanted to get him another run."


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