/

Big bats ignite Giants on poor pitching night

Sakamoto, Bowker lead offensive attack with three RBIs apiece

by Jason Coskrey

Staff Writer

The luxury of having a bad night on the mound for the Yomiuri Giants is that no matter how bad things get, there’s a powerhouse lineup ready and willing to pick up the pieces.

Hayato Sakamoto and John Bowker each drove in three runs, and the Giants ruined the Yokohama BayStars’ home opener with a 10-8 win on Tuesday at Yokohama Stadium.

The Kyojin entered the sixth inning trailing 5-3, but rallied past the BayStars on a two-run double from Bowker, an RBI single by Ryota Wakiya and Sakamoto’s go-ahead three-run double.

Bowker and Sakamoto each drove in three runs for Yomiuri. Wakiya was 4-for-6 and drove in a run; former BayStar Shuichi Murata recorded three hits and an RBI for the Giants; Hisayoshi Chono was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI; and Taishi Ota also recorded an RBI for Yomiuri, which has begun the season with three wins and a tie.

“It was an exciting game. We were going back and forth, there was a lot of offense,” Bowker said.

Yomiuri starter Toshiya Sugiuchi was far from sharp in his first regular-season start after returning from participating in the World Baseball Classic. Sugiuchi never got a feel for his pitches and allowed five runs on two hits over 2 1/3 innings. Sugiuchi struck out two, walked four and hit one batter. Sugiuchi finished outside of the decision.

Yokohama star Alex Ramirez went 0-for-4 against his old team, leaving him with 1,997 career NPB hits. His teammate Norihiro Nakamura moved closer to the 2,000-hit milestone on a 2-for-5 night that included an RBI. Nakamura has 1,971 career hits.

Tony Blanco made his home debut with the BayStars, after spending his first four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, in style with a three-run home run in the third that remained in the stadium thanks only to some well-placed signage.

Blanco, who had a two-run double in the first inning, finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs. Blanco has now hit a pair of home runs and driven in 10 runs in his first three games with Yokohama.

Takehiro Ishikawa and Nakamura accounted for Yokohama’s other runs.

The BayStars loaded the bases with no outs against Giants reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi in the eighth. Yamaguchi allowed a run on Kensuke Uchimura’s sacrifice fly, but retired the next two batters to escape the jam with a 10-8 lead.

Yokohama starter Enyelbert Soto, another former Dragons player, had a considerably rougher time than Blanco in his debut.

Soto had a shaky outing but left with a lead despite allowing five runs on nine hits. Soto struck out three and walked four.

Ogawa triumphs in pro debut

Hiroshima KYODO

Rookie right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) overcame an inauspicious start to earn the win in his pro debut on Wednesday as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows defeated the winless Hiroshima Carp 6-2 at Mazda Stadium in Central League action.

Ogawa, the Swallows’ second draft pick last autumn, walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, but did not allow the Carp to score until the seventh inning. Ogawa allowed two runs in 6-2/3 innings to win his debut, while 2012 CL Rookie of the Year Yusuke Nomura (0-1) allowed four runs — three earned — in five innings to take the loss.

Veteran Shinya Miyamoto broke the ice in the second inning with an RBI single. An error, one of three by Hiroshima, and an RBI single by Keizo Kawashima completed the three-run inning against Nomura.

Dragons 5, Tigers 3

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Yusuke Matsui and Kazuhiro Wada drove in two runs apiece and eight Chunichi pitchers held Hanshin to three runs. Japan career saves leader Hitoki Iwase retired the Tigers in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.

Dragons starter Kenichi Nakata walked five batters in four innings and surrendered the lead on a passed ball, but Chunichi took the lead moments later on an RBI single by Matsui and a run-scoring throwing error by Hanshin third baseman Brooks Conrad.

PACIFIC LEAGUE


Lions 6, Hawks 2

At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Dome, rookie outfielder Yuji Kaneko, the Lions’ third draft pick last autumn, tripled and homered and drove in five runs to lead Seibu past Fukuoka Softbank to its fourth straight victory.

Right-hander Ryoma Nogami (1-0) allowed two runs, one earned in 5 2/3 innings to get the win. Former Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair drove in both of those runs with a solo homer and a single.

Marines 4, Fighters 3

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Chiba Lotte overturned a three-run deficit with five hits in a four-run third inning against 2012 PL MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa (0-1).

Second-year Marines right-hander Takahiro Fujioka (1-0) allowed three runs in seven innings to win his season debut. Ikuhiro Kiyota tied it in the bottom of the third with an RBI single and Kei Hosoya put the hosts ahead for good.

Bufaloes at Eagles — ppd.