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Rob Smaal

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Omichi's pinch-hit homer saves Giants

by Rob Smaal (Aug 28, 2008)

Veteran Noriyoshi Omichi answered the call for the Giants late in the game Wednesday, smacking a tiebreaking pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth inning to lead Yomiuri to a 3-2 victory over the Yokohama BayStars.

"I figured if I could hit one out we'd win the game, so that's what I was trying to do," said Omichi, a 38-year-old reserve outfielder playing his 21st season in NPB.

"I've been on a diet lately, so I worried that my power might have diminished somewhat," added Omichi. "I'm just glad I still had enough power to get that ball out."

Omichi's home run, his second this season, came off reliever Yasuhiro Oyamada (3-4) and wasted a quality start by veteran righty Daisuke Miura, who threw seven innings of five-hit, two-run ball for Yokohama.

Yomiuri reliever Daisuke Ochi (2-2) ended up getting the win Wednesday, pitching two-thirds of an inning in relief. He combined with three other relievers to keep the BayStars hitless after starter Adrian Burnside gave up two runs on three hits through six innings.

Closer Marc Kroon worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Giants, striking out pinch-hitter Takanori Suzuki to nail down his 30th save.

Australian left-hander Burnside struggled a bit in the early going. In the second inning, he grazed cleanup-hitter Shuichi Murata with a pitch to put him on and Yuki Yoshimura made him pay for that indiscretion when he clubbed a two-run tater just over the wall in right. It was Yoshimura's 25th home run of the season.

Yoshimura was also robbed of an extra-base hit in the sixth when he stroked a Burnside offering to deep center, only to have Yomiuri outfielder Yoshiyuki Kamei track it down and make a nice catch just before he slammed into the wall.

Yoshimura also nearly tied the game in the ninth, hitting a ball to the warning track in center field off Kroon, a former teammate in Yokohama.

Michihiro Ogasawara homered off Miura in the fourth to make it 2-1. It was also home run No. 25 for the Giants' star.

In the bottom of the sixth, Hayato Sakamoto led off for the Giants with a single and went to third on a line single to center by pinch-hitter Tomohiro Nioka. Kamei then lined an RBI single of his own to center to score Sakamoto and square things up.

Miura whiffed seven Giants on the night, none bigger than slugger Alex Ramirez, who went down swinging on a full count later in the sixth with the game tied, two out and runners on second and third.

The second-place Giants, who took Tuesday's series opener 7-3, improved to 60-48-2 on the year. The BayStars, mired in the Central League basement, dropped to 37-69-1.

"I'm happy we're on a (three-game) winning streak," said Giants manager Tatsunori Hara. "We have a big series coming up over the weekend at Koshien against the (first-place) Hanshin Tigers."

The Giants and BayStars wrap up their three-game set tonight, also at Tokyo Dome, with Yomiuri going for a sweep.


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