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John E. Gibson

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Giants' Greisinger stops Swallows

by John E. Gibson (Apr 16, 2009)

Seth Greisinger said he knew the Tokyo Yakult Swallows handle the bats well, so he just wanted to make sure Yomiuri handled business on the scoreboard.

The former Swallow won his second straight start by limiting Yakult to a pair of runs while working around 10 hits as the Giants downed Yakult 6-2 on Wednesday night at Jingu Stadium.

Takahiro Suzuki's sixth-inning, two-run single put the Giants up and Yomiuri won its sixth straight decision and spoiled the Swallows' home opener.

"This is a really good-hitting ballclub and I knew they were going to put the ball in play," said Greisinger, who led the Central League in wins when he pitched for the Swallows in 2007 as well as last year.

"I was fortunate to limit the runs in the one inning that they could have done the most damage, and Suzuki came up with a huge hit. It was a good win for us," said Greisinger, who walked none and fanned four.

"Greisinger gave up a bunch of hits, but overall he pitched well," said Yomiuri manager Tatsunori Hara. "His pitches look good."

The Giants, seeking a third straight CL title, skipped starter Satoshi Fukuda a day after being rained out, and Yakult gave Shohei Tateyama a pass, opting to send out 40-year-old Masao Kida.

Kida (1-1) suffered through a stormy night, yielding five runs on seven hits, five walks and a hit batter over six innings.

After the Swallows got him even in the fifth, he gave up three runs in the sixth.

"The way we allowed runs tonight was tough," said Yakult manager Shigeru Takada. "Kida gave up some ill-advised walks so after we scored, they came right back and scored."

The Swallows scratched out the game's first run in the third inning.

Kazuki Fukuchi--who went 3-for-5 for his third straight three-hit game--led off with his second single of the night. A sacrifice and a wild pitch later had him at third with one out. Even with the infield drawn in, Norichika Aoki's bouncer to Michihiro Ogasawara at first was enough to get the fleet-footed Fukuchi home ahead of the throw. Aoki was stranded at first, though, and the Giants came back with two to take the lead in the next inning.

Kida pitched himself into a corner, plunking former Yakult teammate Alex Ramirez to open the frame. Two walks loaded the bases for Shinnosuke Abe, and the catcher dropped a soft liner in front of Aoki in center to even the score at 1-1.

Hayato Sakamoto's sacrifice fly to right scored Yoshiyuki Kamei to give Yomiuri the lead at 2-1, and Kida escaped the jam with limited damage by fanning Greisinger and getting leadoff man Suzuki to fly out.

The Swallows nearly wasted a golden opportunity in the fifth, but pushed home the tying run. They loaded the bases with no outs but it took Aaron Guiel's hustle for a two-out infield single to get them even 2-2.

But Kida couldn't keep Yomiuri down. The righty got into a two-out jam with runners on second and third and Suzuki singled through the right side to put the Giants up 4-2.

Takuya Kimura plated Suzuki with a single to center to make it 5-2 before getting thrown out trying to reach second on the throw home, and the Giants added a run in the ninth.

The Swallows' Hiroyasu Tanaka went 0-for-3 to remain hitless in his last 26 plate appearances.


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