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John E. Gibson

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Araki lifts Dragons over Carp in 12th

by John E. Gibson (Aug 15, 2010)

The Chunichi Dragons didn't seem to have any firepower on Saturday, but they burned the Hiroshima Carp with a late burst.

Masahiro Araki plated pinch-runner Tatsuro Iwasaki with the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning as Chunichi outlasted Hiroshima 4-3 in front of 33,342 at Nagoya Dome.

Pinch-hitter Akihiro Maeda legged out a double off Takayuki Oshima (1-1) to open the inning and came home when Araki faked a bunt and swung away with the corner infielders charging in. He whistled a shot down the right-field line and Iwasaki slipped past Jun Hirose's throw for Chunichi's ninth walkoff win this year.

"I decided to do that on my own," said Araki, who showed bunt from the moment he stepped into the batter's box.

"I had some chances earlier in the game and didn't get it done, so I'm glad I was able to do it in the end," said Araki, who went 2-for-6.

Maeda, a seldom-used backup catcher, took a high fastball toward the gap in right-center field and beat the throw to second for his first hit of the season.

"I was told to look for something up in the zone and I did and put a good swing on it," said Maeda, who was in just his third game this year.

Closer Hitoki Iwase (1-1), who tossed a perfect ninth, picked up his first win of the season. The Dragons scored two in the seventh inning and one in the eight to tie it, and six relievers combined to shut out Hiroshima over the final seven innings.

"We can't allow their pitchers to shut us down," said Chunichi skipper Hiromitsu Ochiai, whose team didn't score over the first seven innings and had one hit from the ninth to 11th innings.

Carp starter Giancarlo Alvarado put in his seventh quality start in his past nine outings, but came away empty. The righty carried a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing two runs and leaving with a one-run lead.

Chunichi starter Masahiro Yamamoto, after last week tying 47-year-old Saitama Seibu Lions lefty Kimiyasu Kudo with at least one victory over 23 consecutive seasons, lasted just five innings. He gave up three runs, one earned, on six hits and walk, while fanning three.

The Carp got to him for three in the fifth. Yoshiyuki Ishihara sent a sinker over the wall in dead center on a line for his eighth longball to start things off.

"I got all of that one," Ishihara said.

The Dragons rallied for two off Alvarado in the seventh. Kazuhiro Wada, the CL's leading hitter at .355, stroked a single to left to open the frame. Masahiko Morino worked a walk and both were sacrificed over.

Naomichi Donoue laced a shot to center that fell in front of Akamatsu, who came charging in after taking a step back.

The Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama BayStars played at night, as did the Hanshin Tigers and the red-hot Tokyo Yakult Swallows, who have won 10 straight for their longest winning streak since taking 11 in a row in 2002.

Sugiuchi tosses 2-hitter

Toshiya Sugiuchi (14-5) matched teammate Tsuyoshi Wada for the Pacific League lead in wins, tossing a two-hitter as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0 at Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome.

Sugiuchi has four shutouts this season, including three straight against Nippon Ham. The lefty, who fanned 12 and walked three, was perfect through four innings and worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth.

The Hawks only had three hits but bunched them together in the second inning, Hidenori Tanoue capping the rally with a two-run double. Yuya Hasegawa tried to score from first but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Second-year Nippon Ham righty Ryo Sakakibara (5-1) got his first start of the season and allowed two runs in four innings before getting the early hook. Three Fighters relievers combined for five perfect innings after he departed.

In night games, the front-running Saitama Seibu Lions played host to the Orix Buffaloes, and the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles visited the Chiba Lotte Marines.


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