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Orix's Yamamoto sings in the rain

by Jim Allen (Jun 17, 2009)

Shogo Yamamoto beat the rain, and the rain helped beat the BayStars.

The lefty allowed two hits in five scoreless innings as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Yokohama BayStars 1-0 at Yokohama Stadium on Tuesday. The interleague doormat duel was called with one out in the top of the sixth inning.

"The weather is what it is; you can't do much about it," said Yamamoto, who struck out five and improved to 4-2 with the shutout. "I just did my best to get my guys off the field as soon as possible. I went after batters early in the count. I got some strikeouts, but they were good ones."

The win was the second in June for the Pacific League cellar dwellers, while the BayStars, last in the Central League, lost their fifth straight and dropped their 12th decision in 13 games.

"A win is a win, and a lot better than a loss," said Yamamoto, who did not allow a runner through the first three innings. He issued one walk, when he pitched around slugger Shuichi Murata on four pitches in the fourth. "I was able to maintain my concentration and everything was OK.

Orix scored the game's only run in the fourth off lefty Les Walrond, who fell to 3-6.

Keiji Obiki opened the inning by smashing a low fastball into the outfield. The ball found a seam in the defense and Obiki made it to second.. A sacrifice moved him to third, and Walrond put himself in a heap of trouble when he lost the handle on the ball for the BayStars' second error. A double play groundball plated Obiki.

Walrond allowed six hits and a walk in 5-1/3 innings, while striking out three.

The run-starved BayStars were shut out for the third straight game and for the 11th time this season, but a run in the fourth.

Yuki Yoshimura was poised to tie it after his leadoff double and a sacrifice put him on third. With two outs and runners at the corners, Yamamoto bounced one and it skidded on the wet turf to the backstop.

Unfortunately for the luckless BayStars, the ball shot straight back to catcher Takeshi Hidaka, who had just begun to chase after it. The catcher grabbed the ball, dashed a few steps to the plate and easily tagged Yoshimura out. The BayStars went more quietly in the fifth, extending their run drought to 26 innings.

"Yamamoto got a lot of ground balls, a lot of strikeouts. His concentration is never an issue, and it was the same story tonight," said Buffaloes skipper Daijiro Oishi, who said the victory was hardly a ringing endorsement for his struggling side.

"Honestly, it's embarrassing."


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