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Rob Smaal

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Lions knock down Giants on 1st day of interleague play

by Rob Smaal (May 13, 2010)

Hiroyuki Nakajima and Dee Brown homered for Seibu and Takayuki Kishi quieted the mighty Giants bats as interleague play kicked off Wednesday with the two first-place clubs going toe-to-toe at Tokyo Dome.

Right-hander Kishi went the distance and Nakajima drove in a pair of runs as the Pacific League's Lions topped Central League-leading Yomiuri 3-1 in a rematch of the 2008 Japan Series, won by Seibu in seven games. Nakajima went 2-for-3 on the night with a solo homer, a sacrifice fly and a double.

"I'm quite surprised how well I pitched tonight against their potent lineup," said Kishi, who whiffed nine as he improved to 6-1 this season. "I'd like to pitch against them again because I always seem to have good luck against the Giants."

Kishi allowed just the one run on four hits in his 127-pitch outing and he retired the side in order in seven of the nine innings. He is now 4-0 against Yomiuri in his career, including two wins in the 2008 Japan Series.

Giants starter Dicky Gonzalez (3-4) took the loss. The big righty gave up three runs on five hits through eight frames and struck out 10 in a game that saw no walks issued by either side.

Brown put the Lions up for good with a solo homer to right in the fifth, his eighth of the year, that broke a 1-1 tie. Brown was 2-for-3 at the plate and he also flashed a little leather in a rare appearance in the field.

Lee Seung-yeop chopped an RBI single through the right side of the infield in the bottom of the second to open the scoring for Yomiuri. With one out and two men on, Lee bounced a full-count delivery from Kishi over the first baseman to score Shinnosuke Abe, who had singled and moved to third on a Yoshinobu Takahashi double.

Nakajima tied it with a sacrifice fly to deep right in the fourth and an inning later Brown's leadoff solo homer to right put the Leos ahead 2-1. Nakajima nailed his seventh dinger of the year in the seventh, also a solo shot to right to lead off the inning, to account for the insurance run.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brown, usually Seibu's designated hitter, made a nice catch in left field on a sinking liner off the bat of Lee. It was the first time Brown played defense this season.

The loss means Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara must wait at least one more day to try for win No. 500 of his managerial career.

In other interleague action, the Nippon-Ham Fighters defeated the Hanshin Tigers 4-2 at Koshien Stadium, and the Chunichi Dragons bested the Softbank Hawks 5-1 at Nagoya Dome. At Yokohama Stadium, the Lotte Marines edged the BayStars 2-1. At Jingu Stadium, the Orix Buffaloes beat the Yakult Swallows 2-1 in 10 innings.


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