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John E. Gibson

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Gonzalez, Giants beat up BayStars

by John E. Gibson (Aug 19, 2009)

The man picked from the scrap heap in the offseason continued to pick up the Yomiuri Giants.

Dicky Gonzalez (11-1) worked eight innings, holding the Yokohama BayStars to two runs in Tuesday's 10-3 win before 43,498 at Tokyo Dome.

Gonzalez yielded seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts to stay perfect against the Central League this season. Orix dealt him his only loss, a 4-2 decision at Skymark Stadium on June 11, and the right-hander's 11 victories put him one behind the CL's top two winners.

The Puerto Rican, dumped in the offseason after five years with the Yakult Swallows, has come back with a career year.

"I'm so happy. When I came here, I knew it was going to be tough for me," said Gonzalez, whose best season in Japan up to now had been a 9-7 mark in 2006.

"I had to work hard to be in this rotation--I went to the minor leagues the first month. I'm still working hard and I'm just doing my job now," added Gonzalez, who was staked to a 5-0 lead after the first inning against Yokohama.

As the games increase in importance down the stretch, Gonzalez figures to be on the mound in pressure-packed situations.

"I'm ready for it," he said. "I'm going to try and keep doing what I'm doing--keep the ball down in the zone and see what happens."

What happened was every starter collecting at least one hit for the CL front-running Giants. Yomiuri batted around in the first inning and banged out 17 hits to improve to 12-4 against the last-place BayStars.

The Giants punished loser Hayato Terahara (2-5) for getting pitches up in the zone, knocking him around for six runs--the most he has allowed this season--on eight hits and a walk.

"I wish he could have hung in and fought them off a little better," Yokohama skipper Tomio Tashiro said. "Once we got down like that, it was tough."

But Dan Johnson hit a pair of solo homers, about which Tashiro said, "He looks like he's starting to come around."

Things started poorly for the BayStars when shortstop Takehiro Ishikawa booted Hayato Sakamoto's hard grounder on the first pitch for his third error in two games.

Tetsuya Matsumoto's at-bat then demonstrated the difference between a first-place team and cellar dwellers. Matsumoto hit a pitch that bounced before it reached the plate, but he got a double out of it to put runners on second and third with none out.

"I was going to try to pull the ball, so the bat head was already out there. It was a miracle," said Matsumoto, who also added two infield hits and a single to right.

Giants No. 3 man Michihiro Ogasawara, back in the lineup after missing his first games back to back since joining Yomiuri in 2007, didn't let a sore left leg bother him at the plate. He ripped a hard single to the wall in right to chase home two.

Gonzalez, who saw his average dip to .303 after a 1-for-4 night, singled home the Giants' fifth first-inning run.

Hidetoshi Tsuburaya capped Yomiuri's scoring with his first pro hit, a three-run homer in the eighth to give him four RBIs.


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