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Giants' bats pick up slack again for mound staff

by Jim Allen (Jul 20, 2010)

The Giants' starting pitching struggled again on Monday, but the batters picked up the slack.

Hisayoshi Chono homered, doubled and singled and Yomiuri exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning en route to a 14-8 win over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows before 44,748 at Tokyo Dome.

Chono had given the Giants the early lead with a three-run, second-inning homer. Trailing 7-3 in the fifth, he doubled and scored to chip away at the deficit.

The Giants knocked out Swallows starter Tony Barnette with three straight hits to open the sixth. Tetsuya Matsumoto's leadoff single and back-to-back, opposite-field singles by Michihiro Ogasawara and Alex Ramirez cut the Swallows' lead to 7-5.

Lefty Koki Watanabe (0-1), acquired in a June 17 trade from Tohoku Rakuten, hit the first batter he faced and issued a bases-loaded walk to Yoshinobu Takahashi.

Before the next pitcher was ready, Takahashi spoke to Chono, the next batter.

"He said, 'Don't do anything stupid,'" said Chono who swung and missed at a 1-1 forkball out of the zone. "After that, I thought, 'Just make contact.'"

With a 2-2 count, Chono got another forkball--this one in the zone--and grounded it up the middle for a two-run single. Ryota Wakiya followed with a triple, and pinch-hitter Yoshitomo Tani singled home Wakiya to cap the inning.

"That was a heck of an inning considering the bad atmosphere at that moment," Hara said. "He [Chono] has been coming up big for us a lot recently."

Giants righty Micheal Nakamura, who threw a 1-2-3 sixth, got the win in his first decision of the year.

Takahashi hit a three-run homer off Shun Takaichi in the seventh to complete the rout.

After a pair of tough losses in Yokohama over the weekend that saw their Central League lead trimmed to a half-game, the Giants got off to a good start behind Chono's 15th homer.

However, for the 14th straight game, the Giants failed to get a quality start. The Swallows tagged Dicky Gonzalez for five runs in 3-2/3 innings.

Josh Whitesell's two-out solo homer in the third sparked a four-run inning. Two singles and a two-run double by Kazuhiro Hatakeyama tied it. Yuji Onizaki doubled home Hatakeyama to give Yakult the lead.

"Starting pitching is the issue," Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. "How can we sort this out? The guys have to battle. There are things that need to be reflected upon and corrected."

Hara yanked Gonzalez after a two-out single in the fourth with the Giants trailing 4-3 and replaced him with rookie lefty Masumi Hoshino.

"He [Gonzalez] was just giving up too many hits. You can't go on any longer like that," Hara said. "Hoshino gave up runs, too, but I needed to make the change."

Hoshino walked Whitesell and surrendered a three-run shot to Aaron Guiel that gave Yakult a four-run cushion. Whitesell also homered in the seventh, a solo shot off Tetsuya Yamaguchi, who was pitching for the fourth straight day.

In the top of the ninth, Levi Romero made his first-team debut for the Giants. Romero, with 16 saves in 21 Eastern League games, struck out one in a 1-2-3 inning.


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