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Rob Smaal

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Miura goes distance

by Rob Smaal (Aug 6, 2009)

Shuichi Murata and Dan Johnson hit back-to-back home runs in a three-run fifth inning Wednesday at Yokohama Stadium and veteran Daisuke Miura went the distance on the hill as the BayStars topped the Yakult Swallows 8-3 in a Central League matchup.

Tatsuhiko Kinjo contributed a pinch-hit two-run triple to help right-hander Miura (8-7) get the win for the BayStars. Miura, in his 18th year in the league, allowed three runs on eight hits on Wednesday, all singles and few hit hard, with the exception of a solo home run by Aaron Guiel in the ninth inning. Miura whiffed four and walked just one.

"I really wanted to get the complete game in tonight so I'm happy about that," said Miura, a 36-year-old workhorse who threw 141 pitches Wednesday. "Every time I walked out to the mound I could feel the energy of the fans and that motivated me."

Yakult took a 2-0 lead in the second frame, courtesy of bases-loaded RBI singles by Keizo Kawashima and Hiroyasu Tanaka.

A two-out, two-run double to the gap in right-center by Takeshi Hosoyamada tied it 2-2 in the fourth before the 'Stars broke out the big sticks an inning later.

With two out in the fifth, Seiichi Uchikawa lined a rocket off Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ichiba into the left-field corner and hustled into second with a double, just beating the throw from Yakult outfielder Norichika Aoki.

Murata then clubbed an Ichiba fastball over the fence in center for a two-run shot, his 21st home run of the season, and Johnson followed him by crushing another Ichiba fastball an estimated 140 meters to straightaway center for his 16th blast of 2009.

"As the cleanup hitter, I didn't do my job last night (0-for-4)," said Murata, the two-time reigning CL home-run champion, in reference to Tuesday's loss to Yakult. "I really wanted to make up for that tonight and I was relieved that I was able to get it done."

Yokohama put another three-spot on the board in the sixth when Kinjo hammered his two-run triple into the gap in right-center off Swallows reliever Lee Hye Chun and Uchikawa blooped an RBI double to make it 8-2.

Ichiba (1-4) took the loss. He was charged with seven runs on eight hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings. Ichiba also hit one batter in his 112-pitch outing.

Elsewhere in the CL, the Hanshin Tigers defeated the Chunichi Dragons 3-1 at Nagoya Dome.

In the Pacific League, the Rakuten Eagles stomped the Orix Buffaloes 8-0 at Kyocera Dome. At Seibu Dome, the Lions beat the Nippon-Ham Fighters 5-2. At Yahoo Dome, the Softbank Hawks edged the Lotte Marines 5-4.


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