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Yomiuri Giants 7 - Seibu Lions 6
W: Tetsuya Yamaguchi (5-0; 2 IP, 0 H, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 R)
Sv: Kiyoshi Toyoda (2)
L: Kazuhisa Ishii (3-5; 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 2 BB, HBP, 6 R, 6 ER)
The Giants almost let this game get away after giving up 3 runs in the top of the 8th, but Kiyoshi Toyoda came on in the 9th and faced four batters, while striking out 2, for his second save of the season.
The Giants got on the board first when they plated a run in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Alex Ramirez (2-for-3, RBI). The Lions responded with a 2-run homer by Yasuyuki Kataoka (2-for-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI) and an RBI single by Hiroyuki Nakajima (2-for-5, RBI) off Giants' starter Hisanori Takahashi (4 IP, 10 H, 4 K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER).
With the rain coming down, the Giants scrambled to regain the lead in the bottom of the 4th -- they wanted to make sure they had the lead after the 5th in case the game had to be called. Yoshitomo Tani (1-for-4, 2B) got things started with a lead-off double and Kazunari Tsuruoaka (1-for-2, 2B, R, RBI) followed with another double, cutting the Lions's lead to 2 runs. 2 outs later, Hayato Sakamoto (2-for-2, HBP, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) walked and then scored on Takuya Kimura's (1-for-3, HR, R, 3 RBI) 2nd home run of the season that gave the Giants a 2-run lead. Michihiro Ogasawara (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) then capped things off with another home run to extend the Giants' lead to 3.
The Giants would score another run on Sakamoto's 9th home run of the season, off Ryoma Nogami in the bottom of the 6th. And for the next inning, it appeared as though the Giants would coast to 7-3 victory. But with Daisuke Ochi on the mound in the top of the 8th, the Lions managed to push 3 runs across the plate: G.G. Sato (0-for-4, R, BB) led off the inning and reached first on an error. The next batter flied out to right for the first inning, but then pinch-hitters Yutaro Ohsaki (1-for-1, 2B, R, RBI) and Yoshihito Ishii (1-for-1, R, RBI) pushed 2 runs across to cut the Giants 4-run lead in half. One out later, Kataoake drove in the third run of the inning on a double to left and suddenly the Lions were within 1 run of tying the game. But Ochi bore down and got Takumi Kuriyama (3-for-5, 2B, R) to ground out to second for the final out of the inning.
The Giants had dropped 3 in a row prior to the win. ... Kataoka's has now hit a career high 5 home runs (his previous high was 4). ... G.G. Sato hit a ball down the third base line (with runners on first and second with 2 out) that appeared to land fair and then go foul after bouncing off Shigeyuki Furuki's glove. Sato ended up grounding out to second to end the inning.
Time: 3h 33m
Orix Buffaloes 1 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
W: Shogo Yamamoto (4-2; 5.0 IP, 2 H, 5 K, BB, 0 R)
L: Les Walrond (3-6; 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 K, BB, R, ER)
It was a battle of the last place teams in Yokohama and the Buffaloes managed to come out on top, 1-0.
Shogo Yamamoto started off strong for the Buffaloes, retiring the first 9 batteres he faced. Yamamoto almost gave up a run in the bottom of the 4th on a wild pitch with Yuki Yoshimura (1-for-2, 2B) on third and Shuichi Murata (0-for-1, BB) on first, but Takeshi Hidaka did a good job of tracking the ball and managed to tag Yoshimura out at home for the final out of the inning.
Les Walrond also started off pretty well, retiring the first 6 batters he faced. And while he gave up a single to Hidaka (1-for-2) to start the third, he retired the next three batters in order.
Walrond's problems were mainly contained in the fourth when he surrendered a lead-off double to Keiji Ohbiki (2-for-3, 2B, R), allowed the next runner to get on base with an error, and then got Greg LaRocca (0-for-3) to ground into a double play, which also happened to plate Ohbiki at third, giving the Buffaloes a 1-0 lead. The Buffaloes followed that with a single by Jose Fernandez (2-for-3, 2B) and Ryota Aikawa (1-for-2, 2B), but Walrond bore down and struck Hidaka to end the inning.
The Buffaloes threatened again in the 5th with a walk and a single after 2 outs, but once again Walrond responded and got Naoyuki Ohmura to fly out to left for the final out of the inning.
The game was called in the top of the 6th after Jose Fernandez hit a double to left with 1 out.
The Bay Stars have now lost 5 straight and are now 1-9 in the month of June. ... The Buffaloes managed to win their second game of the month and are now 2-9 in June. ... The Bay Stars have now been shut-out in three straight games.
Time: 1h 26m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Nippon Ham Fighters 3
W: Yasutomo Kubo (2-4; 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Sv: Kyuji Fujikawa (6)
L: Masaru Takeda (3-4; 3.0 IP, 5 H, K, HBP, 4 R, 4 ER)
The Fighters jumped out to a 2 run lead after Atsunori Inaba (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) nailed his 9th home run with Kensuke Tanaka (1-for-3, BB, 2B, R) at second in the top of the first. Hokkaido could have sent the Tigers reeling in the inning as Shinji Takahashi (2-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI) and Terrmel Sledge (0-for-3, BB) followed with a single and a walk respectively, but Yasutomo Kubo got Eiichi Koyano (0-for-4) to hit into an inning ending double play.
The Tigers then returned a run in the bottom of the second on Craig Brazell's (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) 5th home run of the season; and 3 more runs in the bottom of the third on an RBI double by Kentaro Sekimoto (1-for-1, HBP, BB, 2B, R, RBI) and a 2-run home run by Takahiro Arai (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI).
The score would remain 4-2 until the top of the 5th when the Fighters pushed across their third run of the game on an RBI double by Takahashi. But Tigers pitching would shut down the Hokkaido offense for the rest of the game: 0-for-13 with 7 strike outs.
Brazell has now hit a home run over his last 4 consecutive starts. ... The Tigers snapped out of a 5-game losing streak. ... Takeda had his shortest outing (3.0 IP) of the season.
Time: 2h 47m