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Giants keep Eagles grounded

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Giants keep Eagles grounded

by Jim Allen (Jun 9, 2009)

Yoshiyuki Kamei showed why he's in the lineup and southpaw Hisanori Takahashi had his second straight strong start as the Central League-leading Giants won their fourth straight.

Kamei homered twice and made a big catch in center field to support Takahashi, who pitched into the eighth inning in Yomiuri's 8-3 victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Monday at Tokyo Dome.

The Eagles, whose 4-12 record is the worst in interleague, lost for the fifth straight game.

Takahashi (4-1) gave up three runs on 10 hits in 7-1/3 innings, while walking a batter and hitting two. The lefty, who threw nine scoreless innings in his previous start but got no decision, struck out three Eagles.

"It was good to get a win after last time. I'm grateful for the run support," Takahashi said.

He got some early support from Kamei, who made a good catch in center on the game's first play to rob Rakuten of extra bases right off the bat.

"That's what they pay me to do," said Kamei, who more often plays in right. "Still, it was a case that I stuck out my glove and the ball fell in."

With the game tied 1-1 through three, Yoshitomo Tani made the most of a rare start in the Giants outfield by leading off the inning with a home run off Eagles starter Kohei Hasebe (3-5).

Kamei followed with a solo shot and put the game out of reach with a two-run shot in the seventh.

"He's keeping at it," manager Tatsunori Hara said of Kamei, who is hitting .315 with six homers. "He's swinging well, so even when his timing's off, he can get a hit and draw a walk."

The Giants got on the board three pitches into the bottom of the first, when Hayato Sakamoto drove a Hasebe fastball over the wall in center.

Hasebe made amends in the top of the second with an RBI single after the Giants intentionally walked the Eagles' No. 8 hitter with two outs.

The lefty's troubles with gopher balls were just beginning, however.

He lasted 3-2/3 innings and left with a runner on first base in the after Daisuke Nakai collected a single for his first Central League hit. The 19-year-old then stole his first base at this level, although it was not one for the highlight real.

Before right-hander Shinichiro Koyama could make his first delivery, Nakai took off for second. The pitcher had a wild throw into center, which sent Nakai to third. Koyama's first pitch hit Sakamoto, who then stole second when catcher Motohiro Shima double clutched.

Koyama escaped the inning with a strikeout, but Alex Ramirez homered with one out in the fifth against right-hander Ryohei Isaka.

Isaka gave up a two-run pinch double to Lee Seung Yeop in the sixth. Sakamoto, who was intentionally walked with first base open, scored from first on Lee's shot off the right-field wall. Shinnosuke Abe opened the inning with a single into the left-field corner that was the 1,000th hit of his career.

After Kamei's seventh-inning shot off right-hander Koji Aoyama, the Eagles mounted a two-run rally in the top of the eighth and chased Takahashi with back-to-back, bases-loaded singles.

Right-hander Kiyoshi Toyoda, however, put out the Eagles' fire with one pitch, getting pinch-hitter Akihito Fujii on a smash to third baseman Nakai, who started his second 5-3 double play of the game.

"Ideally, I would have liked to see him go eight," Hara said. "But Toyoda pitched in and Takahashi made a game of it. It's about time he had a win like this."

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