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Rob Smaal

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Marines' right-hander Karakawa mows down Lions

by Rob Smaal (Mar 23, 2010)

As they say in the baseball business, young Yuki Karakawa was dealin' on Monday afternoon at Seibu Dome.

Karakawa, a 20-year-old right-hander in his third year with the Marines, struck out 11 and limited the powerful Lions to two runs on five hits and a walk over the distance as Chiba Lotte handed Seibu a humbling 13-2 loss in their own barn.

Karakawa (1-0) had a perfect game going through five innings, until Seibu catcher Tatsuyuki Uemoto reached on a soft single to right with one out in the sixth. Karakawa threw 138 pitches over the nine innings.

The Marines battered five Seibu pitchers for 16 hits on the day.

Designated-hitter Kazuya Fukuura and leadoff hitter Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in three runs apiece for the Marines, who improved to 2-1 this season, and rookie Takashi Ogino knocked in a pair.

Fukuura lined an RBI single to right off Lions starter Takayuki Kishi in the second inning and also yanked a two-run homer to right off Kishi in the third that made it 5-0.

Nishioka plated a run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center in Lotte's three-run second and Ogino followed him with a run-scoring single to center, marking his first RBI as a professional.

"It went off the end of the bat, but my body responded well," said Ogino, who had three hits, including a hustle double in the fourth. "I was just pumped to drive in the first run of my career."

Nishioka later nailed a two-run triple in the eighth inning off reliever Ryoma Nogami and Ogino followed up with a sacrifice fly to center to score Nishioka. Nishioka's triple hit the bottom of the wall in left and caromed past outfielder G.G. Sato.

The Marines erupted for five runs in the ninth. Saburo Omura started it off with a solo homer to right, Toshiaki Imae jerked an RBI single to left, Tadahito Iguchi drew a bases-loaded walk and Hisao Heiuchi capped off the carnage with a two-run single past first base. All five runs were charged to lefty Yoshihiro Doi.

Fukuura's home run was the 100th of his career, the first coming back in 1997, also against the Lions.

"I was just trying to be aggressive (on the RBI single)," said the 34-year-old veteran. "On the home run, I connected on a changeup and the ball was just in the right position. When I got back to the bench everyone was jacked because it was my 100th homer. I'm pretty happy to reach that milestone as I'm not really a home-run hitter."

Kishi (0-1) took the loss. He was pounded for five runs on six hits through three frames. He walked one and hit Ogino with a pitch.

Lotte cleanup hitter Kim Tae-kyun finally got a batting average in Japan. After going 0-for-8 over his first two games with six strikeouts, Kim went 1-for-5 Monday with a single to right to lead off the fifth inning.

Shoitsu Omatsu continued to swing a hot bat for the Marines. After driving in both runs in Lotte's 2-1 win over Seibu on Sunday, Omatsu went 3-for-5 on Monday at the dish.

Takumi Kuriyama drove in both Seibu runs. He had an RBI single to left in the sixth inning and a run-scoring triple to center in the eighth.


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