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Rob Smaal

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BayStars whack Tigers

by Rob Smaal (Mar 19, 2010)

Shuichi Murata and Tasuku Hashimoto drove in three runs apiece Thursday afternoon as the BayStars hammered the Hanshin Tigers 9-3 in a preseason game at Yokohama Stadium.

Murata smacked a two-run shot to left in the bottom of the first inning and Hashimoto went deep in the fifth with a two-run homer of his own, both off Hanshin starter Yasutomo Kubo.

Hashimoto, who had three hits on the day, also lined an RBI double in the first inning while Murata singled in a run in the second.

Other offensive stars for the BayStars included Tatsuya Shimozono, who hit a solo homer in the second, and leadoff hitter Takehiro Ishikawa, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to boost his preseason batting average to a lofty .625. Seiichi Uchikawa contributed two doubles for Yokohama, including a first-inning rocket to right that tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first, and Jose Castillo continued to swing a hot bat with a pair of singles and an RBI.

Their efforts backed a solid start by Stephen Randolph, who struck out six in getting the win. The American left-hander gave up a game-opening solo homer to Hanshin leadoff hitter Matt Murton in the top of the first and another solo shot to Takahiro Arai to start the second, but other than that, Randolph limited the Tigers to three runs on five hits through his first six innings. First-year BayStars manager Takao Obana lifted him in the seventh after he loaded the bases with none out on two hits and a walk.

Right-hander Shigeru Kaga came in and struck out the first two men he faced before Obana brought in lefty Takayuki Shinohara, who completed the great escape by getting veteran Akihiro Yano to ground out to third.

Kubo, meanwhile, was hit hard and often in taking the loss. He got pounded for eight runs on 13 hits--including three homers--through six frames.

Carp 4, Swallows 0

At Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, Hiroshima left-hander Takahiro Aoki combined with three relievers in a two-hit shutout of host Yakult.

Aoki kept the Swallows off the scoreboard through six innings, allowing just the two hits, and the bullpen took it the rest of the way.

Australian Justin Huber drove in a pair of runs in the sixth inning for the Carp.

Yakult starter Shohei Tateyama took the hard-luck loss. Tateyama, a 16-game winner last season, went five innings. He gave up one run on just two hits with seven strikeouts.

Rafael Fernandes worked the sixth, allowing three runs on two hits and four walks in one inning.

Dragons 6, Giants 2

At Shizuoka's Kusunagi Stadium, 19-year-old Dragons right-hander Junki Ito threw one-hit ball over five scoreless innings to earn the victory as Chunichi topped Yomiuri.

The Dragons' Nobumasa Fukuda and Hayato Sakamoto of the Giants traded two-run homers in the eight inning.

Yomiuri starter Kentaro Nishimura suffered the loss, despite giving up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk through five innings. The Giants committed three errors on the day.


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