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Lions' Kishi beats heat for 1st win in month

by Jim Allen (Jul 6, 2008)

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama--Young Takayuki Kishi put his troubles behind him on Saturday with some veteran advice.

A week after being shelled here, the 23-year-old Saitama Seibu Lions pitcher overcame the sauna-like conditions of Seibu Dome to hurl the Pacific League leaders to a 3 -2 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

"Kazuhisa Ishii said I'd need to be courageous and go all out, and that was my plan," Kishi (7-4) said after allowing a run in seven innings for his first win since June 7. "I went out there to make up for what happened last time."

Last time was a six-run blowup over five innings against the Marines on June 28 that had Seibu skipper Hisanobu Watanabe questioning the youngster's reliability. Against 2007 rookie of the year Masahiro Tanaka on Saturday, the Lions would need more than Kishi had given them of late and he delivered. He allowed eight hits but no walks, while striking out six.

"His curve and change were good as was his fastball, although the fastball was working last time," Watanabe said. "Against an ace-caliber pitcher like Ma-kun, you know you aren't going to score lots of runs, so you have to be able to gut it out."

The gut check came in the fifth inning. With the Lions leading 2-0 and one out, a Rick Short single and a Yosuke Takasu double off the top of the fence put the tying run at second.

With only the help of young catcher Ginjiro Sumitani, who was making his fourth start of the year, Kishi pitched out of trouble like a master.

The young right-hander introduced hard-hitting rookie Fuminori Yokogawa to his curveball, striking him out on curves out of the zone, then performed an encore against pinch-hitter Kenshi Kawaguchi.

"It's scary to watch all those breaking balls in that kind of situation, but he and Ginjiro showed their stuff," Watanabe said.

"Kishi was good, but I think Ginjiro made the difference today. He showed the kind of feel for the game that he can bring."

Kishi said there was nothing scary about the situation.

"I believed in my breaking ball and just threw it for all I was worth," he said. "It was incredibly hot, and more than results, I was just going on feel today."

Tanaka (6-5) couldn't locate his fastball and it cost him an early run. Takumi Kuriyama doubled with one out, but three walks pushed across a Lions run.

Takeya Nakamura, whose six-pitch walk plated the first run, made it 2-0 in the fourth with his 18th home run. With one out, the big third baseman pounded a hanging 3-2 slider from Tanaka for a solo shot.

"In this hot season, it's tough on a fat guy such as myself, but I'll do my best," said the 1.75-meter, 102-kilogram Nakamura.

Although Eagles rookie Masato Nakamura hit three leadoff singles in his debut in the No. 1 spot, he never reached second base. Signed from the club's developmental roster on June 25, Nakamura went 4-for-4 to raise his career average to .500 (7-for-14).

On the bases, however, the new Eagle crash landed: He was picked off in the first, cut down on a failed bunt in the fourth and thrown out trying to steal on a pitchout in the sixth.

The Eagles, however, scored in the seventh on Short's second single and Takasu's second double.

Tanaka worked 6-1/3 innings and allowed the third run after the bullpen added a single and two walks to a runner he left on.

With Kishi out of the game, the Eagles added a run after loading the bases with no outs against right-hander Shinya Okamoto. Lefty Tomoki Hoshino got a groundout that allowed a run to score. With the go-ahead run on second, righty Eiji Shotsu shot down the Eagles big guns: Jose Fernandez and Takeshi Yamasaki.

"He [Yamasaki] was a scary batter back in the days when we played together with Chunichi, so I was glad I could show him something."


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