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John E. Gibson

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Takasu gives Eagles lift

by John E. Gibson (Jul 17, 2008)

For more than a week, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles seemed to be playing in a no-fly zone.

But Yosuke Takasu drove in four runs and Hiroshi Katayama helped the Eagles get off the ground in a 5-2 win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham in a home game for the Fighters at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.

Takasu went 4-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 16 games, while Katayama put in a quality start, holding Nippon Ham to two runs over 6-2/3 innings as Rakuten--fifth in the Pacific League--shut down the second-place Fighters.

The victory halted a five-game Rakuten slide as the Eagles won for the first time since July 6.

"It felt like it was a month," Rakuten skipper Katsuya Nomura said of the drought, which ended a day after he became just the third person to both play and manage 3,000 games. "It came a day late, but thank goodness it came."

Takasu's third homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third, put the Eagles on top early, and he broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out single in the seventh.

The second baseman just missed a homer in the ninth, tripling high off the wall in center to drive in Rakuten's fifth run as the Eagles coasted in the final inning. Tsuyoshi Kawagishi closed it out in the bottom of the ninth for his second save.

Takasu said he wanted to make the most of an early scoring opportunity against Ryan Glynn, a former teammate.

"Glynn's a good pitcher, but we had to do whatever we could to score and I really just wanted to come through in that situation," Takasu said.

"I thought I put a good swing on it and it just happened to go out of the park."

Katayama (2-1) wiggled his way out of trouble to limit the Fighters. He allowed six hits and three walks, while fanning six.

"I'm not really happy with the way I pitched tonight," said the third-year southpaw. "My form, my balance and my release point were all off.

"But even without my best stuff, I was able to do OK."

Glynn looked destined for the role of unlucky loser again. The right-hander, who had dropped five straight decisions coming in, allowed Takasu's third homer of the season, a liner that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole in the third inning to make it 2-0 Rakuten.


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