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Giants batter Yakult ace

by Rob Smaal (Aug 8, 2009)

Hayato Sakamoto, Michihiro Ogasawara and Shinnosuke Abe all homered in a six-run sixth inning Friday night at Tokyo Dome as the Yomiuri Giants downed the Yakult Swallows 10-7 in the opener of a key Central League series.

The Yomiuri victory prevented Swallows right-hander Shohei Tateyama from getting his 13th win of the season. Tateyama (12-3) was battered for eight runs on 10 hits in 51/3 innings.

Giants lefty Tetsuya Utsumi saw his record improve to 5-7 on the year. He picked up the win after limiting the crosstown rival Swallows to two runs on five hits through six innings.

Giants reliever Takuya Fukata gave up a grand slam to Swallows backup catcher Ryohei Kawamoto in the eighth.

Yakult drew first blood in this one when Yasushi Iihara made the most of a rare start in the outfield by singling in a run in the top of the first inning.

But the CL-leading Giants teed off on Tateyama early, scoring four runs on five hits in the bottom of the opening frame. Ogasawara doubled in a pair of runs with Yoshiyuki Kamei and Shigeyuki Furuki also picking up RBIs in the first.

Iihara homered in the top of the sixth to make it a 4-2 game, but the Giants broke it wide open in the bottom of the inning.

Abe led off the inning with a solo shot to center and Sakamoto nailed a three-run blast off Tateyama. Yakult skipper Shigeru Takada then brought in veteran Masao Kida and he gave up a two-run homer to Ogasawara, his 25th home run of the season.

Ogasawara was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and four RBIs. Tetsuya Matsumoto also had three of the Giants' 15 hits on the night.

Iihara had three of Yakult's 11 hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Giants closer Marc Kroon worked the ninth, allowing one run on two hits and a walk.

In other CL action Friday night, the Hanshin Tigers shut out the Carp 4-0 at Hiroshima's Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium.

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