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Kamei, Greisinger propel Giants past Marines

by Jim Allen (Jun 21, 2009)

Yoshiyuki Kamei had almost forgotten what it felt like to get a hit. On Saturday, the Giants outfielder got the feeling back.

Kamei's two-run double helped Yomiuri land a first-inning knockout punch in a 5-2 interleague win over the Chiba Lotte Marines at Tokyo Dome.

Kamei ended an 0-for-23 drought as the Giants slammed submariner Shunsuke Watanabe (1-6) for four runs in the first.

Giants right-hander Seth Greisinger (7-4) pitched out of jams the first two innings before settling down and allowing a run in seven innings.

"I tried to speed up the tempo to get the ball down," said Greisinger, who allowed six hits and struck out four without issuing a walk. "In the first two innings I was a little slow, getting the ball up."

The first two Marines singled off Greisinger but never scored, and the Giants took control against Watanabe in the bottom of the inning.

A leadoff double, a single and a hit batsman loaded the bases, and Alex Ramirez singled in one run.

Kamei followed with an opposite-field double to left.

"I had forgotten the sensation," said Kamei, who had an infield single to go 2-for-4. "I've been dead weight for a number of games, so it was great to get one.

"I believed I could hit a fat pitch from Watanabe. I believed I'd see one and that's what I was waiting for."

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, who has an abundance of second basemen and outfielders, said Kamei's starting job was safe for another day.

"He had a good situation to hit in and he did, but he has to do that," Hara said. "There's a lot of competition for outfield jobs, so I'm always thinking about using someone else."

An intentional walk loaded the bases, and Watanabe got a force at the plate for the first out in the first inning. Shigeyuki Furuki's foul fly down the left-field line plated Kamei for the Giants' fourth run.

Watanabe walked Greisinger to reload the bases but retired the next five before Lee Seung Yeop's long solo homer made it 5-0 in the third.

"They hit a lot of fat pitches in the first inning. What a waste," Watanabe said. "When runners got on, I tried to bear down but I was missing slightly in the batters' favor with my pitches.

"My plan was to challenge them in the strike zone. Maybe I should give myself more margin for error."

The right-hander, who has not won since May 6, surrendered six hits and hit a batter, while issuing two walks and striking out one in four innings.

The Marines got to Greisinger for a run in the seventh, when Toshiaki Imae singled home Saburo Omura from second. They might have had another run but for a good catch in center by Tetsuya Matsumoto.

With one out and Omura at second, the speedster caught up with a drive off Benny Agbayani's bat at the track and leaped to make the catch with his back to the plate.

"They hit some balls hard, but we played some really good defense," Greisinger said. "And [Kazunari] Tsuruoka did a great job behind the plate. He does a good job of calling offspeed pitches to all four corners, and keeping hitters off balance."

Giants lefty Tetsuya Yamaguchi came on to pitch the eighth but was pulled after surrendering a run on three straight scratch singles from the Lotte bench.

Koichi Hori singled to open the inning and scored from second after a wild pitch. Matsumoto showed off his arm and nearly nailed the 40-year-old Hori at the plate.

"They were better than he [Yamaguchi] was tonight," Hara said. "They had a good plan against him. He's bailed out his teammates all year. Sometimes, he needs bailing out, too. There's nothing wrong with that."

Daisuke Ochi got out of the inning on two pitches, and worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save.

The Central League-leading Giants won their eighth straight at home and improved their Japan- best home record to 19-7, while the Marines fell to 8-18-1 on the road.

"We got through that first-inning scrape and went to work in the bottom of the inning," Hara said. "The mood on the bench was optimistic all the time."


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