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John E. Gibson

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Giants go deep to sink Lions in Series rematch

by John E. Gibson (Jun 18, 2009)

A little longball helped the Yomiuri Giants make it a long night for the reigning Japan Series champion Seibu Lions.

Locked in a series of close games this season, the Giants muscled out a pair of solo shots--including Shigeyuki Furuki's tiebreaking blast in the seventh inning--to down the Lions 2-1 in interleague action before 45,174 on Wednesday at Tokyo Dome.

Yomiuri took the finale of the four-game interleague showdown, a rematch of last year's Series that featured an extra-inning tie and a walk-off win for the Lions at home and a 7-6 win for the Giants on Tuesday in Utsunomiya.

Dicky Gonzalez tossed six sharp innings, but walked away with a no-decision after allowing a run on seven hits and three walks, while fanning three. Still, Yomiuri skipper Tatsunori Hara praised his hurlers.

"The pitchers did a great job in this game," Hara said. "Even after giving up the first run, Gonzalez did well to bear down and not allow another run."

Tetsuya Yamaguchi (6-0) was the beneficiary of Furuki's homer, his first since last July, earning the win in relief, while Daisuke Ochi recorded the final four outs for his sixth save. Yamaguchi won his 14th straight decision dating back to last season.

Hideaki Wakui (7-3) suffered the loss, allowing both home runs--seven hits overall--while walking two and fanning nine to snap his own three-game winning streak.

The Lions created chances, but stranded 11 runners as the Giants clinched a winning interleague record for the third straight year.

Ogasawara evened the game in the sixth inning with one swing, blasting his 15th homer of the season. It was his 145th career longball at the Big Egg, putting him one behind Hideki Matsui, now of the New York Yankees, for most at Tokyo Dome.

"I don't know what kind of pitch I hit, but I know I hit it well," Ogasawara said.

The Lions failed to pad their slim lead over the course of the game and it cost them.

"In a game like this, you have to add on runs and we didn't. That ended up being the difference," Seibu skipper Hisanobu Watanabe said.


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