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Jim Allen

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Giants get in gear, flatten Tigers behind Kamei, Ramirez

by Jim Allen (Jul 19, 2009)

The heart of the Giants order was at full throttle on Saturday, and Hanshin had no answer.

Cleanup hitter Alex Ramirez hit two homers in a game for the first time in nearly a year and No. 5 man Yoshiyuki Kamei drove in three runs and made big plays at first and in right as Yomiuri won 11-4 at Tokyo Dome.

Before 45,570, the Giants' third largest crowd of the season, the top of the order set Kamei up for the opening score, and the left-handed hitter shanked a fly that fell into left for a two-run single off Yuya Ando (6-6).

"Somehow I made contact on that and it just managed to fall in in time, " Kamei said.

"The guys did a great job of putting that inning together," Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. "That was pretty big."

After Hayato Sakamoto's line leadoff single, Tetsuya Matsumoto grounded past third baseman Takahiro Arai, who had to play tight to guard against Matsumoto's speed.

With one out, Ramirez forced Matsumoto at second on a grounder that required shortstop Takashi Toritani to make a great play. Ramirez stole second when Ando threw behind him at first.

Kamei, who has been batting fifth since the middle of June, got the job done by hook or by crook and then did the same on defense in the top of the second, fielding a shot behind the bag to rob Craig Brazell of at least a single.

Making just his third start at first base, Kamei showed he knows the ropes already.

In a late-inning defensive shift, Kamei went to right field, from where he killed a runner at the plate to end the eighth inning.

Veteran Tigers catcher Akihiro Yano made his injury-delayed 2009 debut in the game and made an instant impact, keying a third-inning rally that tied it. Yano singled, went to second on a balk and scored on Keiichi Hirano's two-out single. Hirano took second on the throw home and scored when Kentaro Sekimoto singled.

The Giants moved ahead for good in the third on doubles by No. 3 man Michihiro Ogasawara and Yoshitomo Tani. A single by Ryota Wakiya made it 4-2.

Yano singled and scored again in the fifth on a Hirano single after Seth Greisinger balked the runner to second.

But from that point, Ramirez took over.

With Ogasawara on first with a one-out single, Ramirez pounded one over the center-field wall for his 12th homer of the year.

Ando left after five, having allowed five runs on nine hits and a walk.

Tigers pinch-hitter Ikuro Katsuragi hit a two-out double in the ninth and scored from second on a wild pitch, but Yomiuri's retaliation was immediate, another two-run blast by Ramirez--his last two-homer game was on July 26, 2008--and a solo shot by Kamei on the next pitch.

Greisinger (8-5) allowed four runs, three earned, in seven innings.

The Giants scored two more in the eighth on an RBI double by Sakamoto, who scored on an Ogasawara triple. Closer Marc Kroon took the mound in the ninth for the first time since June 7 and mopped up.

"I wanted him to get his feet wet, have a relaxing one the first time out," Hara said.

===

Ramirez hands down success

After going 0-for-3 in Friday's tough loss to the Tigers, Alex Ramirez stayed up watching videos, of himself batting.

The conclusion: His hands were to high in his stance, resulting in a hitch in his swing.

"When you miss balls down the middle, you wonder why. So you watch more video," he said. "Last night, I missed a couple of pitches that I could have hit if my hands were a little lower."

He worked on it in practice and got high marks in the game, driving a pair of pitches over the center-field wall.

"I have no fault with his [Ramirez's] work, but I have to say I expected to see more home runs. Of course, I knew it would happen," Hara said, a sentiment echoed by Ramirez himself.

"Everybody expected it; I expected it," Ramirez said. "But sometimes things don't happen the way you want."


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