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Rob Smaal

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Giant bats give Takahashi plenty of support

by Rob Smaal (Jun 9, 2009)

The Yomiuri Giants spread it around Monday night, getting five home runs from four different sources in an 8-3 interleague whuppin' of the Rakuten Eagles at Tokyo Dome.

Giants left-hander Hisanori Takahashi upped his record to 4-1 with 7 1/3 solid innings for Tatsunori Hara's club. Takahashi allowed three runs on 10 hits in a 113-pitch outing. He struck out three, walked one and hit two batters with pitches.

With the win, the Giants improved to 8-5-3 against Pacific League opposition. The Eagles, meanwhile, saw their interleague record fall to 4-12, the worst in Japanese baseball.

"I kind of ran out of gas there at the end and I wish I could have finished the game, but I'll take it," said Takahashi.

Yoshiyuki Kamei homered twice and drove in three runs for the Central League-leading Giants, but he certainly wasn't the only Yomiuri hitter who put in a call to Dr. Longball on Monday night.

Giants shortstop Hayato Sakamoto led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer to right-center off Eagles starter Kohei Hasebe. In the home half of the fourth, Yoshitomo Tani and Kamei hit back-to-back jacks off Hasebe and slugger Alex Ramirez went yard off reliever Ryohei Isaka in the fifth.

Yomiuri's Lee Seung Yeop clobbered a two-run pinch-hit double off the right-field wall in the sixth off veteran lefty Kenta Satake to tack on a couple more runs and an inning later Kamei crushed his second homer of the night to deep right, a two-run job off Koji Aoyama that made it 8-1.

"It's a great feeling to be able to hit a home run, especially today," said Ramirez, whose ninth homer of the season came on Alex Ramirez Day at Tokyo Dome. "We're putting everything together--the pitchers have been great and the hitters are coming along. We just want to keep it going."

Hasebe (3-5) took the loss, allowing three runs on three solo home runs in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits in total and walked two batters, but on the bright side he drove in the Eagles' first run of the game with an RBI single through the right side of the infield in the top of the second.

The Eagles also got a pair of runs in the eighth with Toshiya Nakashima and Teppei Tsuchiya stroking back-to-back bases-loaded RBI singles off Takahashi. That was it for the lefty as Hara brought in right-handed reliever Kiyoshi Toyoda, who got pinch-hitter Akihito Fujii to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Toyoda also worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

Daisuke Nakai, a 19-year-old infielder with the Giants, got his first hit as a professional, a single to left in the fourth inning. With Nakai playing third and Sakamoto at short, the left side of the Giants' infield totaled 39 years of age.

Also reaching a milestone at the plate was Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe, who got his 1,000th career hit Monday night, a long single to deep left off Isaka in the sixth.

MLB scouts from the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and San Diego Padres were in attendance. Giants starter Takahashi, a 34-year-old veteran, will be eligible for free agency in just over a month.

Elsewhere, the BayStars edged the Lotte Marines 4-3 at Yokohama Stadium. At Koshien Stadium, the Softbank Hawks clobbered the Hanshin Tigers 8-1. The Carp defeated the Orix Buffaloes 6-5 at Shimanami Stadium in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture.


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