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From goat to hero / Giants' Kamei bounces back from defensive error to hit game-winning homer

by John E. Gibson (May 4, 2012)

Yoshiyuki Kamei said he tossed and turned after his defensive miscue cost the Yomiuri Giants a run in the middle game of their three-game set with the Hiroshima Carp.

He put the Carp to sleep on Thursday afternoon, ripping a tiebreaking eighth-inning solo shot off Kam Mickolio (1-2) that helped the Giants to a 4-3 win before 45,940 at Tokyo Dome.

Kamei, whose poor throw from left field in Wednesday's 3-0 loss also drew the ire of skipper Tatsunori Hara, unleashed his frustration on a fastball that he blasted the opposite way to the power alley in left center for his first longball of the season.

"All I wanted to do was get on base," Kamei said in the postgame onfield interview. "Yesterday my mistake led to our loss, and I couldn't sleep last night. I just wanted to make up for it today.

"I had to earn back the trust of the fans," said Kamei, who also popped out on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt in the fourth inning.

First-year import Scott Mathieson (1-0) fanned four over two scoreless relief innings to earn his first win in Japan.

The Giants are percentage points behind the fourth-place Carp in the Central League standings.

The Giants put the first run on the board in the third inning. Hisayoshi Chono hit a shot down the left-field line and outran Nick Stavinoha's throw to second for a double. Daisuke Fujimura's sacrifice bunt moved Chono to third and Hayato Sakamoto fouled off four pitches during the at-bat before taking the 10th offering over a drawn-in infield and into right for an RBI single and a 1-0 lead.

Yoshinobu Takahashi followed with his first longball of the season, a shot deep into the seats in right for a 3-0 cushion.

The Carp answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth off fourth-year righty Shoki Kasahara, making his second career appearance and first start. Ryuhei Matsuyama and Shota Dobayashi had back-to-back one-out singles and Hiroshima skipper Kenji Nomura decided to gamble, shoving a stack of chips to the middle of the table in hopes of a big-inning jackpot.

The gamble paid off as pinch-hitter Takuro Ishii walked to load the bases, and Tomonori Maeda--hitting for starter Kan Otake in the fourth inning--ripped the first pitch he saw into the right-field corner for a two-run double.

Eishin Soyogi got the Carp even when he lined a sacrifice fly to left to make it 3-3, but Kasahara escaped further damage by fanning Akihiro Higashide.

The 21-year-old Kasahara lasted just four innings, yielding three runs on--all in the fourth inning.

"I gave up those runs right after we scored, so that's something I'm going to grate on," Kasahara said.

In other CL action at Nagoya Dome, Yudai Kawai (1-0) worked eight scoreless innings, allowing five hits with no walks and four strikeouts, and Tony Blanco homered as the Chunichi Dragons shut out the Hanshin Tigers 3-0.

Kazuhiro Wada also went 4-for-4 as the Dragons won their fifth straight decision.

At Yokohama Stadium, Norihiro Nakamura doubled in a run and added a sacrifice fly, and Kentaro Takasaki (1-2) tossed seven strong innings as the Yokohama DeNA BayStars topped the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3-1.

Yakult's Shinya Miyamoto went hitless in three at-bats, with a walk, and remained at 1,999 career hits.

In Pacific League action at Sapporo Dome, Nagisa Arakaki (3-1) fired eight shutout innings and Wily Mo Pena ripped a pair of solo shots as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks blanked the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0.

SoftBank's Hiroki Kokubo had two hits to move to within 11 of 2,000 for his career. Pena raised his PL-leading homer total to six with a shot in the second inning and a blast in the eighth for insurance.

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Saburo Omura had two hits and a pair of RBIs, and Shunsuke Watanabe (2-1) scattered seven hits over eight one-run innings as the Chiba Lotte Marines topped the Orix Buffaloes 6-1.

Tadahito Iguchi collected three hits and an RBI, and Watanabe surpassed 1,500 career innings as the Marines avoided a sweep.

At Seibu Dome, Shogo Akiyama went 4-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs, and rookie lefty Hirotaka Koishi (1-0) tossed seven scoreless innings for his first pro win to lead the Saitama Seibu Lions past the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles 6-1.


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