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Rob Smaal

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Ogasawara leads Giants rally over Dragons

by Rob Smaal (Aug 25, 2010)

After getting swept by the Dragons a week ago in Nagoya, the Yomiuri Giants are hoping to return the favor this week in their own barn.

On Tuesday night, Michihiro Ogasawara got them off to a promising start when he smoked a tie-breaking eighth-inning solo home run off Chunichi reliever Akinobu Shimizu to help give the Giants a hard-fought 6-4 victory.

The Giants and Tigers are jostling for top spot in the Central League with Chunichi lurking just behind in third place. When these same teams met last week in Nagoya, the Dragons dominated, sweeping the three-game set and outscoring Yomiuri 12-2 in the process.

However, since then the Giants have been playing some good baseball at Tokyo Dome, taking three in a row from Hanshin heading into this series.

After Ogasawara clobbered his 26th homer of the season in the eighth, Hisayoshi Chono singled in an insurance run for Yomiuri. Chono, a rookie outfielder, had three of the Giants' nine hits on the night and drove in a pair of runs.

Daisuke Ochi (3-3) got the win with one inning of scoreless relief. Giants closer Marc Kroon retired the side in the ninth in order to pick up his 19th save.

Shimizu (1-1) took the loss.

The Giants jumped on Dragons starter Chen Wei-yin for four runs in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by Hayato Sakamoto's bases-loaded two-run single to left.

Yomiuri starter Seth Greisinger had a 4-0 lead and was looking for his first win of the season, but those hopes evaporated as the Dragons struck back with four runs of their own in the top of the fifth, an inning that featured Chunichi skipper Hiromitsu Ochiai getting tossed from the game.

Dragons slugger Tony Blanco led off the fifth by lining a solo shot over the wall in left, his 26th home run of the season. Later in the frame, with men on first and second and one out, Chen dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Greisinger fielded the ball and threw to first for the out. The throw, however, appeared to pull Ryota Wakiya off the bag as he stretched to make the catch, bringing Ochiai out of the dugout to argue the call.

After a delay of several minutes, Ochiai was finally given the heave-ho. The next batter, Masahiro Araki, walloped a fly ball to left that bounced off the wall for a two-run double. An Atsushi Fujii RBI single tied it 4-4 and Greisinger's night was over.

Right-hander Greisinger, a two-time CL wins leader, was making his fourth start of the season after undergoing offseason surgery on his pitching elbow. He went four and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, but once again left the game with a no-decision on his resume, as did Chen.

Chen gave up four runs through six innings. He struck out nine, walked three and allowed seven hits.

In the Pacific League, the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Nippon-Ham Fighters 4-1 at Akita Komachi Stadium.


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