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Lions sink claws into familiar foe

by Jim Allen (Nov 6, 2008)

The way the Lions' Takayuki Kishi pitched on Wednesday, the Yomiuri Giants could have had the Giabbit calling Seth Greisinger's pitches.

The Saitama Seibu right-hander pitched a four-hit shutout as the Pacific League champs leveled the 2008 Japan Series with a 5-0 Game 4 victory at Seibu Dome.

Kishi struck out 10 and walked one in his second victory this season against Greisinger, who was frustrated with some of the pitches being called on his behalf.

When asked about his work effort, the two-time Central League wins leader said one factor in his allowing five runs in five-plus innings was "weird pitch selection."

Asked to clarify, the pitcher said, "Ask the coaches."

Greisinger may have been told not to shake off his catcher's signs in an effort by the bench to neutralize the Lions, who pounded him twice in interleague.

The Lions scored the only run they needed in the first inning, but Greisinger surrendered two-run homers to Takeya Nakamura in the fourth and sixth to put the game beyond reach.

"The first was a fastball inside," Greisinger said. "The second was high."

The sixth-inning homer came after the Giants switched catchers on him, pulling starter Kazunari Tsuruoka for a pinch-hitter and bringing in Ken Kato.

While the pitch selection appeared to unsettle the Giants starter, his teammates fared worse against Kishi.

"My fastball was really good tonight, and I was able to keep the curve and change in reserve for tough spots. But for the most part I just followed [catcher Toru] Hosokawa's lead," Kishi said.

"When I look back at the game, I can see that what he called for was better than the pitches I would have chosen."

Prior to the game, Lions skipper Hiroyuki Watanabe told Kishi the balance of the series was in his hands.

"He told me that, but I just went out to the mound, cleared my head and pitched on pure emotion. Tonight I wasn't even thinking about who I was facing. I just let Hosokawa call the game."

For Greisinger, the shoe was on the other foot.

Asked why a team wouldn't trust a 17-game winner with his own pitch selection, Greisinger said: "I've been asking myself that a lot."


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