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Rob Smaal

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Eagles thump Hammies

by Rob Smaal (Jul 17, 2008)

Yosuke Takasu was downright offensive Wednesday night, accounting for most of his team's runs in the Rakuten Eagles' 5-2 victory over the Nippon-Ham Fighters at Tokyo Dome.

Takasu went 4-for-5 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs, almost single-handedly snapping Rakuten's seven-game winless skid.

Takasu went deep to left off Nippon-Ham starter Ryan Glynn in the third inning with Teppei Tsuchiya on base to give Rakuten a 2-0 lead and, with game tied in the seventh, the veteran infielder smacked an RBI single to left off reliever Yoshinori Tateyama.

Tsuchiya drove in the fourth run on a RBI infield single in the ninth off Tatsuo Kato and Takasu stroked an RBI triple later in the inning.

Takasu's third-inning tater was his third of the season and his fancy stickwork helped make a winner of Hiroshi Katayama (2-1), who held the defending Pacific League champions to two runs on six hits through 6 2/3 innings. Katayama struck out six and walked three. Bespectacled right-hander Shinichiro Koyama worked 1 1/3 innings of one-hit relief for manager Katsuya Nomura's club while Tsuyoshi Kawagishi pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the season.

Glynn, who went 7-7 for the Eagles in 2006, lasted 6 1/3 innings for the Fighters. He also gave up a pair of runs--both on Takasu's homer--on six hits.

Reliever Naoki Miyanishi (2-4), who took over for Glynn, was charged with the loss.

Makoto Kaneko and Hichori Morimoto each drove in a run for the Hammies in a two-run fifth.

Nomura, a former star catcher as a player, was managing his 3,001st game in NPB.

The three-game series is being played at Tokyo Dome, the former home of the Fighters before they moved north to Sapporo in 2004.

In Tuesday's series opener, the teams played to a 4-4 12-inning tie. Morimoto drove in the tying run with two out in the bottom of the ninth for the Fighters.

Rick Short smoked a first-inning three-run homer off Ham starter Brian Sweeney in that one while newcomer Jason Botts hit his first home run, a solo shot in the second, for the Fighters.

In tonight's series finale, also at Tokyo Dome, the Fighters will send ace Yu Darvish to the hill against Rakuten's Domingo Guzman.


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