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Kisanuki cools off Marines

by Jim Allen (Apr 19, 2010)

Hiroshi Kisanuki stuck with the basics and it was enough for the Orix Buffaloes to earn a morale-boosting win on Sunday.

Two weeks after the Chiba Lotte Marines feasted on his fastball, Kisanuki tried again and this time held the Pacific League leaders to a run in eight innings as the Buffaloes earned a 3-2 victory at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Kisanuki (2-2), who joined Orix in an offseason trade from the Yomiuri Giants, allowed six hits while walking five and striking out 10 in a win over submariner Shunsuke Watanabe (2-2).

"The last time they whipped me, and you just can't let the same team do that to you twice in a row," said the 29-year-old right-hander. "They really hit my fastballs and I thought, 'If you're afraid to throw your fastball inside, you're done.'

"I worked with the same catcher that game as today, [Fumihiro] Suzuki. And we agreed to go with the fastball and my regular forkball.

"Because it was Sunday and the relievers would have the day off tomorrow, I figured I'd get all the help I needed and I was just aiming to go five innings."

Greg LaRocca's sixth-inning RBI single opened the scoring and his eighth-inning homer gave the Buffaloes the lead for good.

"[For Kisanuki] to shut down a hot team like that says something," LaRocca said. "We were 7-1 there for a second [at the start of the season]. Getting back to .500 is big. It picks up your morale, gets us going in the right direction."

Kisanuki didn't allow a run until the sixth. With a runner on third after a leadoff walk, Kim Tae Kyun's grounder squirted into the outfield for an RBI single and tied the score 1-1.

"That was a lousy way to give up a run," manager Akinobu Okada said. "Kind of a shame, but he came back and shut them down.

"It was a decent effort. If you can locate the way he did, you can make a living in this business."

LaRocca, who had the little finger on his right hand broken by a pitch on April 10, had his first hit against Watanabe after adjusting the pad protecting his fractured digit.

"After my second at-bat, I put it in a different position," he said. "It [the first way] doesn't hurt, but I'm not swinging right. Balls I should be hitting, I'm rolling over."

After grounding out his first two times up, he tried something different. With two outs and runners on first and third, LaRocca smashed Watanabe's first pitch into left field.

"It [the way I moved the pad] hurt, but my swing felt better," he said.

His eighth-inning homer knocked Watanabe out of the game after 7-1/3 innings.

"I was lucky, it hit the pole," he said. "It felt good to get him because he usually gets me."

Watanabe gave up four hits and four walks, while hitting a batter and striking out three.

Bill Murphy got the Marines out of the eighth inning, but walked two in the ninth. Yoshihiro Ito came on with one out and surrendered an RBI single to Alex Cabrera.

Jon Liecester, who remained with Orix after an unimpressive debut season in Japan in 2009, allowed a run in the ninth but hung on for his fifth save when Kim lined out to short with the bases loaded to end the game.

"We've played some lousy games of late," Okada said. "It's great to win one like this."


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