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Wakui cruises as Lions maul Marines 18-0

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Wakui cruises as Lions maul Marines 18-0

by Jim Allen (May 16, 2009)

Hideaki Wakui continued to roll and Hiram Bocachica once more provided the right-hander with some power.

Wakui (4-1) had his fourth straight impressive start, a four-hit shutout, as the Saitama Seibu Lions shredded the Chiba Lotte Marines 18-0 in a 17-hit onslaught Friday at Chiba Marine Stadium.

The right-hander, who had allowed a combined four runs in his three previous starts, struck out five and walked four in his second complete game of the season and his first shutout since 2007.

"I knew I hadn't had a shutout for a long time, and I started thinking of that after we had a big lead," Wakui said. "My running fastball had good movement, but that was the only pitch that was especially good."

Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe, however, didn't care one way or the other whether Wakui went the distance.

"Considering the score, his pitch count, and the fact he had a shutout going, I thought, 'Why not?'" Watanabe said.

"He was in a position where he could enjoy himself and was throwing some heat right at the end."

Bocachica's three-run home run in the fourth made it 5-0 off submarine right-hander Shunsuke Watanabe. Five of his 11 homers have been hit in games started by Wakui.

"[Wakui's] good luck for me," said Bocachica, who struck out his first time up. "He [Watanabe] is tough to hit. Some guys throw side-arm, but his hand almost touches the ground.

"The pitch he struck me out on came up and then went down."

Until the fourth, Watanabe (1-4) was just as tough as Wakui. He had limited the Lions to a hit over three innings, but the visitors loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth for G.G. Sato. The Lions' No. 6 hitter doubled in two. Watanabe got two outs before Boca drove one well back in the stands.

"His pitches weren't bad, but he got a few too many up in the fourth," Seibu skipper Watanabe said.

The Lions stuck it to the Marines starter for two more in the sixth, the second coming through opportunistic base running.

Yutaro Osaki's one-out double put two men in scoring position and the lead runner was safe at home on Ginjiro Sumitani's grounder to first. With runners on the corners, Bocachica hit a foul pop that first baseman Kazuya Fukuura tracked down and caught on the very edge of the playing surface.

But with the three-time Golden Glove-winner's back turned, Sumitani tagged up and went to second. When Fukuura tried to punish the Lions catcher for his insolence, Osaki dashed home on the throw

Watanabe allowed seven runs on eight hits over 5-2/3 innings, while striking out four and hitting two batters.

Calling on the bullpen, however, only added fuel to the Lions' fire.

Marines lefty Takuya Furuya, who retired the only batter he faced in the sixth, got one more out in the seventh but was tagged for five runs. Veteran right-hander Satoru Komiyama then surrendered six runs in two-thirds of an inning of work.

The Lions' 18 runs were the most in Japan this season and the most allowed by the Marines since May 15, 2004. That day, the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks hammered the Komiyama and the Marines 21-2.

The win lifted the Japan Series champions to .500.

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