Giants make up deficit to race past sorry Swallows



The Yomiuri Giants played small ball to get back into their game against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. They made things simple and just hit the ball over the fence when they were ready to win it.

Takuya Kimura and Alex Ramirez led a two-inning, four-home run explosion and the Giants rallied from a four-run deficit to rout the Swallows 12-4 in front of 45,187 fans on Saturday at Tokyo Dome.

Ramirez homered in consecutive at-bats, capping a 4-for-4, six RBI night, to lead Yomiuri’s 18-hit attack. Ramirez now has 29 home runs this season, equaling the number he hit last season.

“Last year I was going more for hits,” Ramirez said. “Now it’s a totally different game.”

The Giants trailed 4-3 with two outs in the seventh when Kimura took reliever Kenichi Matsuoka’s curveball for a ride over the right-field wall to tie the score.

“I was surprised the ball went out because I wasn’t trying to hit a home run,” Kimura said.

After a Michihiro Ogasawara single, Ramirez put the Giants on top with his 28th homer of the season.

“I thought it was a ball,” Ramirez said of Matsuoka’s slider. “I just had something in mind. I was just trying to step inside the ball and try to hit it the other way. So it was a ball but it was a good pitch for me to hit.”

Although Ramirez hit a homer, he didn’t give one of his patented performances with Giants mascot Giabbit afterward, about the only thing that didn’t go right for him all night.

“I was looking for Giabbit to do the performance, but I couldn’t find him,” Ramirez said. “He wasn’t there. I may have to fine him for not being there,” he joked.

Kimura, who hadn’t homered since May 26 against Hokkaido Nippon Ham, finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.

Reliever Koji Uehara kept the momentum going in the eighth by striking out Norichika Aoki and Hiroyasu Tanaka in a 1-2-3 inning.

Shinnosuke Abe began the bottom half of the inning with his 12th home run of the season and Ramirez collected his second of the night, a three-run shot, later in the inning.

“I knew that ball was going out as soon as I hit it,” Ramirez said.

Sekimoto hero again

NISHINOMIYA , Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Kentaro Sekimoto hit a two-run triple and Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi combined with three relievers on an eight-hit shutout Saturday as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Chunichi Dragons 2-0 in the Central League.

A night after his first career grand slam and five RBIs led the Tigers to a 7-1 win in the opener of the three-game series, Sekimoto drove home all the runs the league leader would need with his triple to left-center with two outs in the fourth inning at Koshien Stadium.

Carp 4, BayStars 2

At Hiroshima Stadium, Alex Ochoa hit a walkoff two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as Hiroshima rallied to beat Yokohama.

Ochoa’s shot to left-center off Yukiya Yokoyama (2-2) came an inning after Yoshiyuki Ishihara homered to tie the game at 2-2. Hiroshima closer Katsuhiro Nagakawa (3-1) picked up the win.


Lions 6, Fighters 3

At Sapporo Dome, Craig Brazell and Yasuyuki Kataoka drove in five runs between them as Seibu rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Hawks 2, Marines 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Takeshi Tsuji singled in two runs in the second inning and D.J. Houlton pitched seven innings of one-run ball as Softbank edged Chiba Lotte.

Buffaloes 3, Eagles 1

At Kyocera Dome, Ryota Aikawa hit a three-run homer in the second inning and Chihiro Kaneko threw seven scoreless innings as Orix beat Rakuten to stretch its winning streak to a season-high four games.