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Ogasawara homers, scores 4 times as Giants top Marines in slugfest

by Jim Allen (May 17, 2010)

When pitchers shy away from the strike zone at Tokyo Dome, things can get ugly.

That's how it was on Sunday when walks and longballs took center stage, and the Yomiuri Giants survived a 10-8 interleague slugfest with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

The teams drew 11 combined walks and hit nine home runs. Five Giants homered, including Michihiro Ogasawara, whose solo shot to open the third broke a 3-3 tie and put the hosts ahead for good. He also singled and walked three times to reach base five times and score four runs.

"I wanted the home run because I wanted to make an impact in that situation, but I am satisfied that I could be on base every time," said Ogasawara, who also made four solid plays at third base.

"I thought the fielding was something. Basically, I just try to keep from pulling the pitcher's feet out from under him, but today went really well."

The Giants also got home runs from Hayato Sakamoto, Alex Ramirez, Shinnosuke Abe and Yoshinobu Takahashi. Sakamoto, who had four hits, homered for the fourth time in three games.

The chief beneficiary of the barrage was right-hander Kentaro Nishimura (3-1), who got the win despite allowing four runs in six innings.

"Nishimura has good stuff, but his approach was the issue," Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. "He's accepted the responsibility of a starter and he's at the point where he needs to develop a little, to get a little tougher mentally.

"You don't expect a pitcher to hold the other team hitless, but games are won by scoring the most runs. Walks can kill you, especially against a team like that one that will take advantage of them."

Marines manager Norifumi Nishimura shared that sentiment after his own starter, Yuta Omine (2-3), allowed four runs on five hits and compounded those with three walks.

"It's been the same problem for us all along," said Nishimura, whose club fell 1-1/2 games back of the Pacific League-leading Saitama Seibu Lions. "The batters came through, but the pitchers are maybe trying to do too much, be too fine. I would like to see them, especially Omine, work more aggressively."

The Marines' Kim Tae Kyun provided most of their offense, going 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers and raising his batting average in May to .326 with nine homers in 43 at-bats.

His two-run shot in the third tied it at 3-3, and his parting shot in the ninth off lefty Norhihito Kaneto made it 10-8 and forced skipper Hara to call in closer Marc Kroon.

Kim's second homer was his 100th since turning pro in South Korea.

"It doesn't mean anything if the team doesn't win," Kim said.

The Giants jumped in front in the first on a massive three-run homer by Abe. A Toshiaki Imae RBI single in the second got Lotte on the board, and Kim's first shot, a scorching liner, tied it in the third.

Ogasawara unlocked the tie with his 349th career homer.

In the fifth, Ogasawara singled to open the inning off the Marines second pitcher, lefty Kodai Matsumoto, Ramirez reached the seats for the 14th time this season, tying him for the Central League lead with the Hanshin Tigers' Craig Brazell. Abe then walked and Takahashi homered for the first time since April 25 to make it 8-3.

Imae got a run back for the Marines in the fifth with a two-out solo shot, his second homer in six career at-bats off Nishimura.

Sakamoto led off the Giants' sixth against lefty Takuya Furuta with his 10th home run of the year.

In Yokohama, Takeya Nakamura homered twice and Hisashi Takayama singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth as the Lions held off a stiff challenge to beat the BayStars 6-5 and send them to their sixth straight defeat.

Tohoku Rakuten's Daisuke Kusano hit a three-run homer off Jason Standridge (1-1) as the Golden Eagles beat the Hanshin Tigers 7-3 at Koshien Stadium.

Dragons right-hander Soma Yamauchi (2-0) allowed a run in six innings as Chunichi improved to 4-0 in interleague with a 4-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at Nagoya Dome.

In Hiroshima, Makoto Kaneko homered and drove in four runs, while Masaru Takeda (2-4) allowed a run in five innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham beat the Carp 6-2.

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks' game against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium was played later in the evening.


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