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Furuki gives late Giants last laugh

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If nothing else, the Yomiuri Giants sure have a flair for the dramatic.

Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled to tie the game and Shigeyuki Furuki won it with a sayonara single as the Yomiuri Giants erased a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to beat the Chunichi Dragons 6-5 in front of 44,439 fans at Tokyo Dome on Monday.

“I feel happy for our fans because this kind of sayonara victory is very exciting for them,” Furuki said. “I was out of breath before I got to second base. I’m breathless and speechless. I’m not even sure what kind of pitch I hit.”

Trailing 5-3, Giants third baseman Tomohiro Nioka and pinch hitter Yoshitomo Tani got the ball rolling in the ninth with a pair of singles to lead off the inning. The next batter, Kamei, pulled the Giants within a run with a double to right that scored Nioka from second.

The Dragons opted to walk the bases loaded for slugger Alex Ramirez rather than face the next batter, Michihiro Ogasawara, who finished 3-for-4.

Ramirez hit into a double play and the Dragons dished out a second intentional walk, to Yoshinobu Takahashi, to reload the bases.

Things didn’t go according to plan, however, and Furuki sent a ball to deep center to win the game for the Giants.

“Furuki came through for us in the end for a most sweet come-from-behind win,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said.

Giants starter Hisanori Takahashi gave up four runs on seven hits in a no decision. Takahashi, who has not lost a decision since May 13, is 5-3 this season. Giants reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi (7-2) was credited with the victory.

Chunichi second baseman Masahiro Araki, in his first game since July 29, after playing for the national team in the Beijing Olympics, led the Dragons’ attack with a four-RBI day.

Dragons starter Kenichi Nakata struck out 11, giving up three runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings for the win. He left the game in the sixth after stumbling and injuring himself while attempting to back up home on a single by Hayato Sakamoto.

Nakata (7-8) did not factor into the decision. Reliever Takuya Asao took the loss after giving up the three runs in the ninth.

Shortstop Hirokazu Ibata had a quirky day at the plate for the Dragons, going 2-for-4. Ibata began the game with a deep ball to left-center that got past center fielder Takehiro Suzuki, who did a face-plant into the wall while chasing the out.

Suzuki recovered in time to make the throw to shortstop Sakamoto, who threw out Ibata trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park-home run. Ibata nearly missed hitting home runs in his next two at-bats as well, the ball just curling foul each time.

Takahashi (5-4) pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a two-out single by Ibata. Araki followed with a bases-clearing double off the center-field wall to put the Dragons ahead 3-0. Lee Byung Kyu added an RBI single later in the inning to give the Dragons a four-run lead.

Nakata labored through his half of the fifth as well, giving up a pair of hits, throwing a wild pitch and finally hitting Nioka to load the bases with one out. Nakata struck out Suzuki for the second out then ended a nine-pitch at-bat by striking out pinch hitter Kamei with a forkball to get out of the jam.

He wasn’t so lucky in the sixth when Furuki hit an RBI double down the right-field line to make the score 4-1. The Giants then pulled within a run on a two-run single by Sakamoto.

Tigers 3, Swallows 0

Carp 3, BayStars 2

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 4, Fighters 3

Buffaloes 6, Marines 2

Hawks at Eagles — ppd.