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Goose-egg Gonzalez / Offseason pickup hurls 7 more scoreless innings as Giants beat Dragons

by Jim Allen (May 10, 2009)

Dicky Gonzalez remained unscored upon as a Yomiuri Giant.

Gonzalez threw seven scoreless innings in his second straight start for the Giants, a 3-1 victory over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome on Saturday evening.

Gonzalez, who was cast off by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows after five seasons at Jingu Stadium, yielded six hits and struck out three to improve to 2-0 in two games for Yomiuri.

The 30-year-old, who allowed four hits and struck out four over seven innings in his May 3 season debut, has yet to walk a batter.

"Same as last time. I had a good combination with [catcher Shinnosuke] Abe, and we worked the corners real well," said Gonzalez.

Abe opened the scoring with a two-run, second-inning home run off Chen Wei-yin (2-2). It was the fifth homer of the season for the Giants captain.

Alex Ramirez made it 3-0 with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth. It was his first homer since he took Chen deep here in a 5-4 victory on April 25.

"Chen didn't give us a lot of chances," Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. "Shinnosuke and Ramirez hit those big homers for us when we didn't have real scoring opportunities."

Gonzalez kept the Dragons at bay by getting big outs. He twice struck out cleanup hitter Tony Blanco to end an inning with a man in scoring position.

"Blanco is the kind of hitter that if he makes contact, it's going to go," Gonzalez said. "So you have to get him to go after a pitch out of the zone."

Gonzalez left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, and the timing couldn't have been better for the Dragons, who had plenty of hits but no luck against the righty.

Masahiro Araki, who stung the ball all night, doubled with one out off lefty Tetsuya Yamaguchi. The Dragons finally scored in the eighth inning with two outs, when Blanco snapped an 0-for-3 night with a flair off Daisuke Ochi that fell in for an RBI single.

Ochi, who enters to the song "Wild Thing," loaded the bases with walks before striking his way out of trouble. The right-hander surrendered a two-out single in the ninth but hung on for his third save.

"I told him [Gonzalez] it was time to leave it up to the relievers," Hara of his decision to go to the bullpen.

Watching Ochi in the eighth, however, gave the skipper more thrills than he bargained for.

"He's in there as the closer," Hara said of Ochi. "And if you're the closer you have to be a little bolder."

The defense, which saved a run in the fourth when center fielder Tetsuya Matsumoto caught up with a troublesome two-out drive to the gap, came up big again in the eighth.

Yamaguchi got the first batter he faced only because second baseman Takayuki Terauchi took a hit away from Dragons No. 1 hitter Hirokazu Ibata.

"That play was big because it kept the leadoff man off base," Hara said.


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