CHIBA – Wearing a wide grin and bright yellow-trimmed sunglasses, Jose Castillo said he was happy to be back in Japan before his first game with the Chiba Lotte Marines.
He was alone in his choice of eye wear, but by the time he was done for the night a few thousand Marines fans were smiling along with him.
Castillo had four hits, including a two-run homer, and Kazuya Fukuura drove in the tie-breaking run in the eighth as the Marines rallied to beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 8-7 on Tuesday night at QVC Marine Field.
“I’m happy I could help the team,” Castillo said. “This was an amazing win.”
Castillo was making his first appearance for the Marines after being acquired from a team in Mexico on June 22. He spent last season with the Yokohama BayStars, batting .273 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs in 131 games.
He went 4-for-4 with three RBIs in his Japan rebirth.
“I’m glad I was able to have a good day at the plate, since this was my first game since joining the Marines,” Castillo said. “I was able to hit the way I thought I could. But at any rate, this is the team’s win.”
He came to the plate in the eighth with a runner on second and two outs in a 7-7 contest. The Fighters opted to walk him and face Fukuura, rather than risk giving up a go-ahead hit to the red-hot Castillo.
Fukuura made them pay with a RBI single to right that brought Yoshifumi Okada home from second and put Lotte ahead 8-7.
“There was a little pressure,” Fukuura said. “But I was thinking this was a chance.”
Marines reliever Carlos Rosa (1-3) threw two innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Yasuhiko Yabuta worked the ninth for his 13th save. Ryo Sakakibara (1-1) took the loss for the Fighters.
Lotte starter Yuki Karakawa was spared a loss, but had a night to forget. Karakawa entered the game having won his last three starts, but struggled with his control for much of his latest outing.
He allowed six runs on 10 hits, striking out three and walking three in 4⅓ innings.
“I wasn’t able to throw my slider effectively, so my pitching was off tonight,” Karakawa said.
Nippon Ham starter Brian Wolfe had problems of his own, allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings of work. Wolfe also did not factor into the decision.
Makoto Kaneko led the way for Nippon Ham at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI double and RBI triple. Daikan Yoh was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Eiichi Koyano finished 3-for-5.
Akada leads Buffaloes
Shogo Akada drove in his first run since July last year with a walkoff RBI single off Tohoku Rakuten closer Ryan Speier, giving Orix its fourth straight win with a 2-1 victory over the Golden Eagles at Kyocera Dome on Tuesday.
Hawks 7, Lions 2
Dragons 1, Tigers 0
At Nagoya Dome, pinch hitter Kohei Oda ended a stalemate in the bottom of the ninth, driving in the only run of the game with a single off Hanshin reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi as Chunichi won its second straight.
Swallows 5, Giants 4
Carp 6, BayStars 3
Clemens ready to fight
Roger Clemens’ tenacious pursuit of victory on the pitcher’s mound re-emerges this week as he goes on trial on charges he lied when he denied using drugs and confronts his chief accuser, the former friend who says he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
Clemens is charged with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress for telling a House committee under oath that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during his 23-season career. The record-setting pitcher who once seemed a sure bet for baseball’s Hall of Fame now could face prison if 12 jurors agree that he lied and unanimously agree to convict him.
The trial of the United States vs. William R. Clemens, scheduled to begin Wednesday and last 4-6 weeks, will bring a parade of celebrity athletes and plenty of sordid details to the staid Washington federal courthouse. It will feature testimony about illicit drugs, bloody evidence of injections, an abscess on Clemens’ backside allegedly caused by steroid use and allegations that his accuser is a serial liar and a rapist.
Clemens isn’t the only all-star baseball player to be criminally charged with lying about drug use, and prosecutors have a mixed record. Infielder Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty in 2009 to a misdemeanor for withholding information about an ex-teammate’s use of drugs when questioned in 2005 by congressional investigators. But in their first jury test, prosecutors were able to convict home run king Barry Bonds of just one count of obstruction of justice in April for giving an evasive answer to a grand jury when asked about drug use.