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Ogasawara, Greisinger lead G-Men in sweep of sad-sack BayStars

by Rob Smaal (Apr 10, 2009)

Need a little NPB pick-me-up? Head down to Yokohama.

Michihiro Ogasawara drove in four runs--on three RBI doubles--and right-hander Seth Greisinger got his first win of the season Thursday as the Yomiuri Giants manhandled the hapless BayStars 9-2.

The win completed a three-game sweep for the Giants, who improved to 3-2-1 this year. The Chunichi Dragons opened the season here and they also swept the 'Stars as Yokohama fell to 0-6 in 2009.

Greisinger, who led the Central League in wins last year with 17, improved to 1-1 on the season after taking the loss on Opening Day. The right-hander allowed one run--a deep solo homer to center by Yuki Yoshimura--on four hits through six innings. He whiffed six, walked one and hit one batter with a pitch in a 92-pitch outing.

Three Giants relievers limited the BayStars to one run on three hits the rest of the way, all the damage coming in the ninth inning off Daisuke Ochi.

The teams traded runs early. The Giants got on the board against BayStars starter Les Walrond in the top of the first inning when Takuya Kimura singled into the corner in right and Ogasawara smoked a run-scoring double into the gap in left-center.

But power-hitting outfielder Yoshimura led off the bottom of the second by crushing a Greisinger delivery over the fence in straightaway center to tie it at 1-1. It was the first home run of the season for Yoshimura, who smacked 34 last year.

After a Kimura double in the top of the third, Ogasawara clubbed his second RBI double of the night to put the Giants ahead 2-1. They tacked on another run in the fifth when shortstop Hayato Sakamoto sliced an RBI single to right past a diving Yuta Naito.

Sakamoto, the Giants' 21-year-old shortstop, was 4-for-5 on the night with a pair of doubles.

Yoshiyuki Kamei came off the bench in the seventh to hit in the pitcher's spot, stroking an RBI double to left to bring home Yomiuri's fourth run. After Ogasawara's third RBI double of the game made it 6-1, reigning CL MVP Alex Ramirez made his presence felt with a run-scoring single of his own.

Walrond (0-1), who pitched in six games for the Philadelphia Phillies last season, was making his debut in Japanese baseball. The 32-year-old left-hander from Oklahoma gave up three runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Walrond flirted with danger in both the third and fourth innings, uncorking two wild pitches in the third and loading the bases in the fourth with Ogasawara at the plate. The Giants, however were unable to take advantage, scoring just one run in the third and none in the fourth when Ogasawara grounded out to first.

Yomiuri started Kazunari Tsuruoka at catcher with regular Shinnosuke Abe resting a sore knee.

Tsuruoka made the most of his opportunity, drilling a two-run homer in the eighth inning off reliever Yukiya Yokoyama to make it 9-1. Tsuruoka had three hits on the night.

Lee pinch hit for Alfonzo with two out and the bases loaded in the sixth against right-handed reliever Hiroki Sanada. He hit a missile to the right side but was thrown out on a close play at first and finished the night 0-for-3.

The BayStars were once again without 2008 Central League home-run king Shuichi Murata, who injured his hamstring during the World Baseball Classic. Murata's WBC and Yokohama teammate, Seiichi Uchikawa, was 2-for-4. Last season, Uchikawa led all hitters in Japan with a .378 average.

The Giants out-hit their opponents 18-7 on Thursday.


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