Yoshiyuki Kamei has one heck of a flair for the dramatic.
Kamei led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a “sayonara” home run to the deepest part of the stadium to help the Yomiuri Giants edge the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2-1 in front of 44,076 fans on Saturday afternoon at Tokyo Dome.
“I wasn’t able to drive in any runs earlier in the game, so I’m happy I could make up for it with the sayonara home run,” Kamei said.
It was the third walk-off homer of the season for Kamei, who also hit a game-winning homer on Tuesday against the Hiroshima Carp in Asahikawa, Hokkaido.
“I can’t explain it,” Kamei said. “I just happened to hit the home runs at the most opportune time.”
Facing reliever Takehiko Oshimoto, Kamei watched the first pitch of the inning, a forkball, sail past him for ball one. The next pitch was another forkball and the Yomiuri outfielder launched it to deep center to give the Giants their third straight victory.
The game was the third extra-inning affair in four games for the Giants, after playing a pair against the Carp to start the week.
“We’ve been playing a lot of long extra-inning games lately,” Kamei said. “The fans have stuck with us, so it was good I could end it for them and for our team with a victory.”
Kamei was the game’s hero, but starter Seth Greisinger did most of the heavy lifting.
Greisinger threw eight innings of one-run ball in a strong start against his former team. He allowed three hits and struck out two. One of his few mistakes was hitting Aaron Guiel to lead off the seventh, which eventually led to the tying run scoring.
Tetsuya Yamaguchi (8-1) took over for Greisinger in the ninth and retired the Swallows in order. He took care of things in the 10th as well, earning the victory after Kamei’s homer.
Yakult pitcher Yuki Tanaka turned in one of his best starts of the year to keep the powerful Yomiuri offense at bay. Tanaka (3-2) held the Giants to one run, allowing four hits and striking out six, but did not factor into the decision. He lasted six innings, turning in his longest start of the year.
Yomiuri third baseman Michihiro Ogasawara had multiple hits for the second straight game, finishing 2-for-3. Ogasawara is 5-for-7 in the first two games of the three-game series.
Shigeyuki Furuki put the Giants on the right track by lining a two-out single into right field in the fourth inning. Catcher Kazunari Tsuruoka followed with an RBI single to break the scoreless tie.
After being hit in the seventh, Guiel advanced to third on ground outs by the next two batters. Shortstop Keizo Kawashima tied the game with an RBI single up the middle.
The teams will meet in the finale of their three-game set on Sunday afternoon at Tokyo Dome. The starting pitchers are expected to be Yoshinori Sato (5-5) for the Swallows and Hisanori Takahashi (5-4) for the Giants.
Otake tosses shutout
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Kan Otake pitched his second shutout of the season as the Hiroshima Carp routed the Hanshin Tigers 8-0 to snap a four-game winless streak.
Otake (7-4) scattered six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in a 109-pitch outing. The Tigers suffered their first loss in three games.
Dragons at BayStars — late
Marines 6, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in a four-run ninth inning as Chiba Lotte beat Orix.
After Nishioka’s two-out single off Ryota Katsuki (2-3) made it 3-2, Saburo Omura added a two-run double followed by Shoitsu Omatsu’s second run-scoring double of the afternoon. Omura was 4-for-5 and Omatsu had three RBIs for the Marines.
Tatsuya Uchi (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Fighters 8, Eagles 6
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Tomochika Tsuboi had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and Hokkaido Nippon Ham tacked on five runs in the fifth en route to beating Tohoku Rakuten.
Terrmel Sledge’s RBI groundout tied the game 2-2 before Tsuboi’s sac fly to right off Satoshi Nagai (7-5). Shinji Takahashi had a run-scoring double and RBI single for the Fighters.
Shugo Fujii (6-4) allowed two runs in six innings and Hisashi Takeda picked up his 22nd save. Takeshi Yamasaki hit a two-run homer and a three-run drive for the Eagles, who had their winning streak snapped at four games.
Lions 12, Hawks 3
At Seibu Dome, Taketoshi Goto, Takeya Nakamura and Tatsuyuki Uemoto each homered and drove in seven runs between them as Saitama Seibu walloped Fukuoka Softbank.
Goto hit a three-run blast to cap a four-run first and Nakamura went deep with a two-run shot in the fifth for his Japanese baseball-leading 34th homer as the Lions took a 7-0 lead. Pinch hitter Uemoto added a two-run drive in the eighth.
Takumi Kuriyama went 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Takayuki Kishi (11-1) threw seven innings of one-run ball, striking out six and walking two. D.J. Houlton (8-5) was tagged for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.