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Obispo making most of Giant chance

by John E. Gibson (Jul 10, 2009)

Yomiuri hurler Wirfin Obispo pitched like he's ready to turn his spot start into a spot in the rotation.

Too bad the numbers game will probably force him back to the farm.

The third-year righty handcuffed the Yokohama BayStars on four hits over a career-long 7-1/3 innings to win his second pro start 2-0 on Thursday before 43,074 at Tokyo Dome.

The Central League's first-place Giants--in their retro uniforms--struggled to take two of three from the cellar-dwelling BayStars, but Obispo (2-0) looked on top of his game, surrendering one walk while fanning six to help out a struggling rotation.

"I'm very happy with the way I pitched tonight," said Obispo, who moved up from the instructional league to the farm team and has finally gotten a chance at the top.

"I wanted to be aggressive out there and I was able to do that. I think that's why I had good results."

The 24-year-old Dominican, who beat Hiroshima 4-1 on July 2 at the Dome, again impressed his skipper.

"He was even better than last time," Tatsunori Hara said. "His control of his offspeed pitches was great, and he just seemed to be confident with everything he threw."

Yokohama manager Tomio Tashiro's team was blanked on his 55th birthday, but the skipper tipped his cap to Obispo.

"I've seen him in the past, but he has really improved his control and developed into a fine pitcher," Tashiro said.

The Giants backed Obispo--barely--with a pair of solo homers, Michihiro Ogasawara sending a no-doubt solo blast over the fence in right center in the fourth and Ryota Wakiya hitting an opposite-field shot to left center in the seventh.

Obispo was rarely in trouble, though, facing the minimum through three innings and not allowing his first hit until two were out in the fourth.

He left with a runner on first and one out in the eighth inning, giving way to Tetsuya Yamaguchi. The lefty reliever struck out pinch-hitter Dan Johnson and Yuki Yoshimura to escape the jam.

The BayStars didn't die easily. They threatened to even things up in the ninth inning, loading the bases before Daisuke Ochi struck out Shigenori Kuremoto to lock up his eighth save.

Hara said Obispo will get another start before the All-Star break later this month, but he is the obvious choice to be sent down once injured closer Marc Kroon is ready to return--because of the rule that limits the number of foreigners on the roster.

Yokohama starter Hayato Terahara (1-3), in his second start since April 22, pitched well enough to win. He held the Giants to two runs on seven hits and three walks, while fanning seven in seven innings.


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