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Giants just 3 1/2 back after blanking Swallows

by Jim Allen (Sep 6, 2008)

The Giants took another step toward a second straight Central League pennant on Friday, and once more it came at the expense of the Swallows.

Seth Greisinger (14-8) pitched out of a couple of tight spots to throw eight scoreless innings as Yomiuri Giants splattered the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8-0 at Jingu Stadium.

Greisinger allowed five hits as the Giants downed Yakult for the eighth straight time and moved to within 3-1/2 games of the league-leading Hanshin Tigers, who lost 6-3 to the Carp in Hiroshima.

The Swallows, who had moved into fourth place the night before, had a five-game win streak snapped and dropped back into fifth, a half-game behind the Carp.

"This team [the Swallows] has been hitting the ball really hard recently," Greisinger said. "So I just tried to keep the ball down and get them to hit it on the ground."

Greisinger allowed five singles against his former team, issued one walk and hit a batter, while striking out four. He also made one of the Giants two errors, but served up a pair of key double plays.

He left the mound having thrown 103 pitches.

"I'm OK with pitching eight innings and letting the bullpen do their work. They've been doing a great job all season," said Greisinger, whose last complete game was a shutout here against the Carp on Sept. 4, 2007.

The Swallows loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning, only to see pitcher Ryo Kawashima's drive caught near the wall.

"He didn't get rattled by the errors and got the big double plays at the right time," said Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara, whose club won its third straight--thanks in part to the red-hot bat of Michihiro Ogasawara.

The Giants No. 3 hitter, who hit for the cycle two nights earlier, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.

The Giants, who have pounded Kawashima (6-6) all season, got started early. First-inning doubles by Yoshiyuki Kamei and Ogasawara put one run up. A pair of walks loaded the bases, and Ogasawara scored on a single by Tomohiro Nioka.

By the time Ogasawara was removed for a pinch-runner in the top of the sixth inning, he had improved to 8-for-14 against Kawashima this season with three doubles and two homers.

Although the Giants let Kawashima off the hook by stranding three runners in the first and two more in the second, the right-hander eventually received the whipping he has become accustomed to getting from the Giants all year.

Kawashima, who allowed eight runs in six innings, fell to 1-4 against Yomiuri with an 8.33 ERA in 27 innings. In the one win, he allowed four runs in five innings.

Although Kawashima survived a couple of early scrapes and retired nine straight in one stretch, he walked Alex Ramirez with two outs in the fifth and Yoshinobu Takahashi went deep on the next pitch.

Takahashi's homer was his first since Aug. 19--also at Jingu off Kawashima.

The Giants completed the rout in the sixth. A leadoff walk and a single set the table for Kamei, whose second double plated both runners. Ogasawara doubled Kamei home and pinch-runner Takayuki Terauchi scored on a single by Ramirez.

"We could have survived allowing those first two runs, but the next two really sank us," said Swallows skipper Shigeru Takada. "Still, they had a good pitcher tonight and there's not a lot you can do against that kind of pitching."


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