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Murton maintains torrid pace in Chiba

by Jason Coskrey

Staff Writer

There’s something about the Chiba Lotte Marines’ home field that brings out the best in Matt Murton.

Murton doesn’t know what it is, but he’s not about to argue with success.

Murton had another big day in the Pacific League park, coming up with four hits and a pair of RBIs to back starter Randy Messenger in the Hanshin Tigers’ 7-1 win over the Marines on Thursday at QVC Marine Field.

“It was great, “Murton said. “There are ups and downs in baseball. Over the last few games I didn’t feel like I was playing the way I should be. So to come out the last couple of games and swing the bat good felt good. As a team, I think we did the same thing.”

Murton continued his mastery of Lotte’s home park by picking up his 11th modasho (three-hit game) of the season. He finished 4-for-5 and drove in the first two runs of the contest.

Murton was 7-for-9 with a home run and three RBIs during Hanshin’s two-game interleague road series against the Marines. Overall, he’s 18-for-32 in Chiba since arriving in Japan in 2010.

“I have no idea,” Murton said, referring to his success in Chiba. “We only come here for two games. It’s kind of a crap shoot. Luck of the draw when you come into a stadium. Maybe I’m just catching it at the right time.”

Hanshin coughed up a 6-1 lead on Wednesday, with the Marines rallying for a 6-6, 12-inning tie, but got the job done in the finale.

The Tigers had 17 hits in the first game, and their bats were still smoldering on Thursday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Marines, recorded three hits, while Takahiro Arai also had a multi-hit night, going 2-for-3. Hanshin finished with 13 hits.

Ryota Arai’s only hit of the night was a three-run double in the third that made the score 5-0. He was 1-for-4.

Messenger continued to benefit from a wealth of run support. The Tigers are averaging seven runs a game when Messenger is on the mound, and he did his part Thursday with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Messenger (6-1) gave up eight hits, struck out five and walked five.

“That’s part of baseball, Murton said. “Last year I don’t think he got any run support at all. It’s nice to be able to put some runs up for him. He’s done a great job of competing, grinding through it and finding a way to win games.”

Yuki Karakawa (2-3) was charged with the loss for Lotte after allowing seven runs — five earned — on 10 hits.

Giants trounce Eagles

Kyodo
SENDAI

Yomiuri’s Hisayoshi Chono opened the game with a home run for the second straight day and this time the CL-leading Giants hung on to beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 10-4 on Thursday in interleague play and snap a three-game losing streak.

A night after the Giants lost 2-1 to Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka, they tattooed Manabu Mima (4-3) for six runs in the first inning. Yoshiyuki Kamei and Shuichi Murata each drove in a pair of runs in the inning, and Michihiro Ogasawara singled in a run for his first RBI of the season.

Yomiuri starter D.J. Houlton was pulled after four-plus innings. He allowed seven hits and a walk, while hitting two batters. The right-hander was charged with three runs, two earned.

Carp 6, Lions 2

At Seibu Dome, Hiroshima’s Yoshihiro Maru broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with a two-run home run off Seibu ace Hideaki Wakui (3-3), who was appearing in relief.

Nick Stavinoha added a two-run shot for the Carp in the eighth.

Right-hander Yusuke Nomura (2-2) started for Hiroshima and allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.

Buffaloes 8, Dragons 3

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Orix came from behind to tie it on fourth-inning solo homers by Yoshio Itoi and Shinji Takahashi and took the lead for good over Chunichi in a four-run fifth on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s RBI single.

Former closer Mamoru Kishida (1-2) pitched three innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Matt Clark hit a two-run homer for the Dragons, while teammate Hector Luna had a hit for the 23rd straight game.

BayStars 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Tatsuhiko Kinjo opened the scoring with a second-inning RBI single as Yokohama defeated the hosts.

Rookie right-hander Shoichi Ino (2-4) allowed a run in six innings, and solo homers by Norihiro Nakamura and Noriharu Yamazaki gave the BayStars a 4-0 lead in the fourth.

BayStars right-hander Jorge Sosa, who is filling in as closer for injured All-Star Shun Yamaguchi, allowed two runs in the ninth inning, but hung on to notch his third save in the win over Fukuoka Softbank.