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Recipe for disaster: Carp batter Giants' Fukuda for 7 consecutive hits in big 2nd inning to top CL

by Jim Allen (Aug 8, 2010)

Sometimes disaster comes out of nowhere for no obvious reason.

On Saturday, Giants right-hander Satoshi Fukuda was derailed by seven straight second-inning hits as Central League-leading Yomiuri lost an 8-2 train wreck of a game at Tokyo Dome.

"You feel kind of bad for Fukuda," said Giants cleanup hitter Alex Ramirez. "He made good pitches and they hit them. Then he made bad pitches, and they hit them, too."

Fukuda (2-3) retired the Carp 1-2-3 on 10 pitches in the first inning and retired the first man he faced in the second before two balls were hit for flare singles. A pair of seeing-eye, ground ball singles by Takahiro Iwamoto and Yoshiyuki Ishihara followed to make it 2-0.

Carp pitcher Giancarlo Alvarado (4-6), who went eight innings for the win, chipped in with a single that loaded the bases. Leadoff man Akihiro Higashide's ground single made it 3-0 before the Giants got an out on a busted suicide squeeze.

Leaning in to bunt, Eishin Soyogi nearly had his head taken off by a high fastball, missed and hung the runner out to dry. Soyogi got some payback, however, by driving a 2-2 curve to the wall for a two-run double.

"If it weren't for those consecutive hits...," Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. "He [Fukuda] got off to a great start. It looked like he was stepping up a notch. It [the inning] kept him from showing his quality."

Two of Hiroshima's first three hits were on balls out of the zone.

"Normally, you go after those pitches and you only help the opposing pitcher," Hara said.

Those seven baserunners were the only ones Fukuda allowed in four innings. Soyogi's double was the only hard-hit ball of the bunch.

For Alvarado, who has started four games in which the Carp were shutout, the run support was welcome.

"It felt good to go my way for a change," said the right-hander, who allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five.

The Giants countered with two runs in the bottom of the third after center fielder Soichiro Amaya lost track of a ball for the second time in the game only to see it fall for a triple.

Amaya, who gifted Edgar Gonzalez a two-out triple in the second, lost Hayato Sakamoto's two-out fly to right center in the third. Tetsuya Matsumoto singled Sakamoto home, stole second on a throw that hit him in the face and scored on a single by Michihiro Ogasawara.

Alvarado gave up another single to Ramirez in the inning and pitched out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth before cruising the rest of the way.

Carp cleanup hitter Kenta Kurihara, playing for the first time since suffering a broken bone in his right wrist on June 10, hit a two-run, fifth-inning homer off the Giants' second pitcher, Takahiko Nomaguchi.

"It felt good coming off the bat," Kurihara said. "I'm getting a little stronger day by day. That's the longest rehabilitation I've ever had, so I was relieved to get off to a good start."

The top of the ninth inning saw right-hander Lin I-hao make his CL debut for the Giants. The 19-year-old hit one batter, walked another and uncorked a pair of wild pitches, one of which brought home a run.

Hara said Lin, who first came to the Giants on a developmental contract at the age of 15 in November 2006 out of Taiwan, was a player with a future.

"I think he was OK," the skipper said. "In the near future, I expect him to be a strong player for us. He told me he was nervous, but he'll just have to overcome that."

In Nagoya, Masahiro Yamamoto went six innings to win a duel of 40-something lefties as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-1.

Yamamoto, 44, allowed a run on four hits in his 2010 debut to beat Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, 42 and win for the first time since last Sept. 11.

Shimoyanagi (6-6) allowed four runs in four innings as the Tigers remained a half-game back of the first-place Giants.

In Pacific League action, Hokkaido Nippon Ham's Sho Nakata homered for the third straight game to break a 1-1, sixth-inning tie and the Fighters went on to rout the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 8-3 at Sapporo Dome.

Masaru Takeda (9-6) allowed two runs in eight innings for the win.

Since hitting his first career home run on July 20, Nakata has seven home runs in 10 games.


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