The Yomiuri Giants media guide lists outfielder Hisayoshi Chono as a first-year player.
Try telling that to opposing pitchers late in games.
The Kyojin’s celebrated rookie hit a tie-breaking solo homer to right-center in the eighth inning, and Yoshiyuki Kamei followed with a shot of his own, helping the Giants avoid a sweep with a 6-4 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Monday at Tokyo Dome.
Chono stepped to the plate with the score tied 4-4 and got all of a 1-0 fastball from Orix’s Yoshihisa Hirano to give the Giants the lead.
Chono’s heroics came just two days after his go-ahead two-run homer against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the ninth inning of the Giants’ 5-3 win in Sendai.
The Giants have won every game in which Chono hit a home run.
“I’ll keep trying to hit as many as I can so the team will keep winning,” Chono said.
Chono was drafted out of the industrial league to much fanfare last year and has not disappointed thus far, batting .284 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 44 games.
He had been 0-for-3 against Orix before getting a fateful assist from catcher Shinnosuke Abe in the eighth.
“I wasn’t able to make good swings earlier in the game,” Chono said. “The only difference (in the eighth) was Abe-san had given me one of his bats.”
Occupying the next spot in the order, Kamei tacked on an insurance run with his second home run of the year.
“I should apologize to the Giants fans for not performing up to expectations this year,” Kamei said. “I appreciate the support even though I have not had many hits this season, and will try my best to contribute to more team victories.”
Yomiuri slugger Alex Ramirez drove in three runs with a two-run home run and a sacrifice fly. Yoshinobu Takahashi had an RBI on a 1-for-3 night.
The Giants are hoping the win is a sign of better things to come after going 2-5 in their last seven contests. The victory gives Yomiuri a 5-5 record in interleague play, with Orix falling to 6-4.
All four of the Buffaloes’ runs came on home runs, with Aarom Baldiris and Takahiro Okada each hitting two-run blasts.
Yomiuri’s Tetsuya Yamaguchi earned the win in relief despite giving up Okada’s game-tying homer in the eighth. Giants closer Marc Kroon retired the side in the final inning to earn his ninth save of the season. Hirano was charged with the loss.
Ramirez gave his team the early advantage with his two-run shot in the first inning.
The Buffaloes answered the challenge in the second, tying the score on Baldiris’ fourth homer of the year, a two-run job to center.
The Giants had runners on first and second in the fifth when Orix starter Kazuki Kondo was called for a balk which advanced the runners. Ramirez made him pay with his tie-breaking sacrifice fly to right which made the score 3-2.
The lead stretched to 4-2 after Takahashi drove in a run in the seventh.
Okada’s blast evened the score in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for Yomiuri’s late-game fireworks.
Carp blank Lions
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Eric Stults and three relievers combined on a six-hit shutout, leading the Hiroshima Carp to a 3-0 victory over the Saitama Seibu Lions on Monday.
Stults (2-3) scattered four hits and struck out seven over 6 1/3 innings. Eishin Soyogi hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Jeff Fiorentino added an RBI single in the sixth.
Takayuki Kishi (7-2) lost for the first time since March 22 after giving up three runs in six innings.
Tigers 5, Marines 4
At Koshien Stadium, Kenji Johjima drove home the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth as Hanshin beat Chiba Lotte to snap a three-game losing streak.
Dragons 3, Eagles 0
At Nagoya Dome, Tony Blanco drove in two runs to back left-hander Yudai Kawai as Chunichi blanked Tohoku Rakuten.
Fighters at Swallows — ppd.
Hawks at BayStars — ppd.