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Rob Smaal

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Hawks hammer G-men

by Rob Smaal (May 26, 2010)

The Softbank Hawks rode the talented left arm of Toshiya Sugiuchi and some hot bats to an emphatic 10-2 interleague win Wednesday night as they humbled the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants in their own barn.

A day after being shut out 8-0 in Yokohama, the Hawks vented their frustrations on Yomiuri, erupting for 13 hits off five Giants pitchers at Tokyo Dome.

Sugiuchi struck out eight and allowed two runs on six hits and four walks over seven innings in a dominating performance to improve to 8-1 on the year.

"I'm out there to win every game, every time, but a victory over the Giants is always special," said Sugiuchi, who picked up his fourth career win over Yomiuri.

Tadashi Settsu worked a scoreless eighth in relief of Sugiuchi and American right-hander Brian Falkenborg pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Falkenborg has now allowed just one earned run in 24 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Offensively, the Hawks spread it around. Softbank got home runs from Jose Ortiz and Yuichi Honda, while Nobuhiko Matsunaka drove in a pair of runs.

They blew open a tight game with a five-run fifth inning and added two more each in the sixth and seventh innings as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit.

Giants cleanup-hitter Alex Ramirez drilled a two-out RBI double off the wall in left-center in the bottom of the first, but after that Sugiuchi pretty much owned the powerful Giants lineup over the next five shutout innings.

Ortiz led off the top of the fourth with a solo homer to straightaway center off Giants starter Dicky Gonzalez to tie it. It was Ortiz's Pacific League-leading 16th jack of the year.

Munenori Kawasaki slapped an RBI single to left in the fifth to put the Hawks up 2-1 and Ortiz lined a run-scoring single to center to tack on another run.

After Hitoshi Tamura hit an RBI single back up the middle, Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara had seen enough of Gonzalez, bringing lefty Masumi Hoshino in from the bullpen. He got an early wake-up call when Matsunaka cranked his first offering into right-center for a two-run double to cap the five-run inning.

Honda hammered a two-run homer off Giants reliever Takahiko Nomaguchi in the sixth to make it 8-1, and Tadaatsu Nakazawa and Katsuki Yamazaki drove in a run apiece, both off Nomaguchi, an inning later for a 10-1 lead.

Yoshitomo Tani's RBI double to center off Sugiuchi in the bottom of the seventh was the only response the Giants could muster.

Gonzalez (3-6) took the loss. He was battered for six runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Michihiro Ogasawara, the Giants' most dangerous hitter, missed his second straight game after being hit in the hand by a pitch on Sunday.

The Hawks improved to 5-5 in interleague play while Yomiuri saw its record against PL clubs drop to 5-6.

In other interleague action, the Rakuten Eagles edged the Yakult Swallows 3-2 at Jingu Stadium. At Koshien Stadium, Lions starter Kaz Ishii led Seibu to a 3-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers. At Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium the Lotte Marines pounded the Hiroshima Carp 9-1. The game between Chunichi Dragons and Nippon-Ham Fighters was rained out at Alpen Stadium.


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