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John E. Gibson

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Marines ensure Tashiro starts a loser

by John E. Gibson (May 20, 2009)

A new manager, a different lineup and interleague play couldn't cure Yokohama's bats from their recent bout of pine flu.

Toshiaki Imae doubled home the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning, and Yuki Karakawa retired 18 of the last 20 to keep the BayStars falling under new skipper Tomio Tashiro, downing Yokohama 2-1 before 16,386 at Chiba Marine Stadium on Tuesday.

Yokohama, which entered having scored a total of three runs during a four-game skid, managed just five hits as Karakawa (4-2) went the distance for the second straight game.

Tashiro, taking over the Yokohama BayStars for ousted manager Akihiko Oya, got an up-close look at why the BayStars have dropped five straight and are in last place in the Central League.

His club had trouble making contact off Lotte's second-year righty, who fanned 10, and had two runners thrown out on the base paths.

"It's a shame," Tashiro said about his first loss on the first-team bench. "If we can't get the heart of the lineup going, the going will be tough for us."

Seiichi Uchikawa had an RBI double in the leadoff spot, but the heart of the order went a combined 0-for-10.

On the other side, Karakawa was pleased with his performance.

"I think I did a good job tonight," said a smiling Karakawa, who walked none. "I was throwing strikes and getting ahead in the count and I didn't have to work out of any big jams, so I was able to throw with good tempo," said Karakawa, who blanked Rakuten 6-0 in his last start on May 10.

Karakawa spent more time in the dugout watching as his team stranded 11 runners before Imae's hit off loser Yuya Ishii (0-5).

"Karakawa was pitching so well, so I went into the at-bat thinking 'I want to be the one to help him out,'" said Imae, who was 3-for-4 and hit the ball hard all night. "I had hits in the at-bats before that, so I went up there feeling pretty good. It's nice to be able to contribute."

The BayStars gave Tashiro a quick taste of a lead, getting on the board first in the third inning. Toshiyuki Kitagawa doubled off the wall in left-center field to open the frame and eventually walked home when Uchikawa split the gap in right center for a two-out RBI double and 1-0 lead.

But Yokohama starter Thomas Mastny couldn't hold it. He walked Naotaka Takehara to open the bottom of the inning and a single by Saburo Omura made it first and second with no outs.

A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance and Tadahito Iguchi's groundout plated Takehara. Mastny walked Benny Agbayani but got the next two batters to escape further damage.


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