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Ono, Lotte top Seibu

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Ono, Lotte top Seibu

by Jim Allen (May 18, 2009)

It was like old times for Shingo Ono.

Nine years after earning the nickname "Sunday Shingo" with 11 straight Sunday wins, the Chiba Lotte Marines right-hander took advantage of a stiff wind in an 8-5 victory over the Saitama Seibu Lions at Chiba Marine Stadium.

"I recall pitching on windier days, but when it gets above 10 meters [per second], that's something," said Ono (2-3), who allowed two runs in 5-1/3 innings for his first Sunday win since Aug. 5, 2007.

"It's been that long? But you know, I had never beaten the Lions on Sunday. Someone told me that yesterday."

The Marines roll into interleague on a pair of solid victories over the Japan Series champs after getting bashed 18-0 on Friday.

"I think we're playing well no...and we'll have a good team going into interleague," Marines manager Bobby Valentine said.

"We had good at-bats, patient at-bats and Ono gave us everything he had."

While the 34-year-old hurler is accustomed to his home park in wind tunnel mode, Lions starter Masamitsu Hirano (0-1) loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning on two walks and a hit batsman.

Marines cleanup hitter Tadahito Iguchi singled home the game's first run.

Shoitsu Omatsu and Tomoya Satozaki followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the hosts an early 3-0 lead.

The Marines tacked on two more in the fifth on a leadoff walk by Iguchi, an Omatsu double, and Satozaki's two-run double. Satozaki went 2-for-2 with two doubles, four RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Hirano, the Lions' first-round pick from 2007, allowed five runs in two-plus innings. Rookie right-hander Ryoma Nogami delayed the Marines for four innings, while conceding just a run, but veteran lefty Yoshihiro Doi gave away two in the seventh.

The Lions, who could only manage a wind-assisted double through the first four innings against Ono, finally got to the right-hander in the fifth.

Tatsuyuki Uemoto loaded the bases with a one-out single and helped keep the inning alive with a good slide at second that helped prevent a double play. A run scored on the play when Hiram Bocachica beat the throw to first, and Yasuyuki Kataoka's single brought in a second score.

Ono's only walk of the afternoon loaded the bases for international star Hiroyuki Nakajima, but third baseman Toshiaki Imae retired the slugger with a diving stop and a good throw to end the threat.

Imae added salt to the Lions' wounds by getting down a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the inning.

"I threw some pitches where I shouldn't have, but the guys covered for me," Ono said. "The team won this game."

Ono, who struck out four, while allowing six hits, said his pitches were solid in the bullpen before the game but knowing it's windy is a plus.

"I've pitched in these conditions so many times over the years," he said. "I know I can get it done if I stick to my game. If you're a young guy, then it can be a challenge.

"I don't have to force my running fastball because the wind will do some nasty things with it. Still, I need to be more conscious of not making some pitches."

The Lions closed to within three runs in the top of the eighth against right-hander Yoshihiro Ito.

A two-out single and a double brought Kenta Matsusaka to the plate, and the reserve outfielder tagged a first-pitch slider for a three-run homer, but that was all for the Lions.

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