Yoshiyuki Kamei homered twice, Shuichi Murata hit a grand slam and the Yomiuri Giants used a prolific long-ball attack to wallop the Yokohama BayStars in a 12-7 rout on Friday night.
Kamei’s first blast in the third, a solo dinger, broke a 1-1 tie and Yoshinobu Takahashi added a two-run blast the same inning as the Giants gave right-hander Tim Corcoran his Japanese baseball baptism.
Left-hander Tetsuya Utsumi (6-3) gave up five runs — three earned — in 6 2/3 innings, getting more run support than he could have imagined in the Giants’ 19-hit onslaught at Tokyo Dome.
Kamei went deep to the seats in right into a sea of orange Giants jerseys, giving Yomiuri a 2-1 lead against Corcoran. After Hayato Sakamoto singled in the next at-bat, Takahashi sent another bullet over the wall in right to extend the lead.
John Bowker later fought off Corcoran in a 16-pitch at-bat, finally doubling off the wall in right to put runners at second and third. Corcoran escaped without further carnage but his night ended there.
Some sloppy defensive play by Utsumi cost the Giants the opening run in the first inning.
Yokohama leadoff man Takehiro Ishikawa reached on the second pitch of the game, when Utsumi failed to retrieve a slow roller to the mound, and Ishikawa advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a groundout, Tony Blanco drove in the runner from third on a hard-hit ball to left.
The heavy-footed Blanco hustled from first to third on Norihiro Nakamura’s line drive to left, and Utsumi walked Hitoshi Tamura to load the bases but escaped on a harmless comebacker.
The Giants gave Corcoran (0-1) his initiation in the home half of the inning, but it was only a precursor of the long-ball damage he would incur two innings later. The right-hander gave up four runs on eight hits in just three innings in his Japan debut.
Leadoff man Daisuke Nakai opened the home half of the first with a bloop single to right. Kamei killed the buzz by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play, but the 35-year-old Corcoran, a former minor league right-hander with the Atlanta Braves, walked the next two batters, and Murata hit a line drive up the middle to tie the game at 1-1.
BayStars skipper Kiyoshi Nakahata’s pitching changes did little to turn the tide, and the BayStars were sinking fast when Murata took reliever Kenjiro Tanaka deep to center with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth to make it 8-1.
Tigers 3, Carp 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Takahiro Arai and Ryota Imanari hit back-to-back homers to rally their team in the second inning, Randy Messenger threw one-run ball over the distance and second-place Hanshin held off Hiroshima to snap a three-game losing skid.
Messenger (7-4) allowed five hits, walked none and won his first decision since May 23. Arai’s solo drive tied the game at 1-1 and Imanari hit his first career home run in the next at-bat.
Hisashi Takeuchi (0-1) took the loss.
Dragons 6, Swallows 3
Hawks 6, Eagles 1
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Tadashi Settsu limited the damage to one run in his second consecutive complete game, Yuya Hasegawa keyed a four-run first with a two-run double and Fukuoka Softbank beat Tohoku Rakuten to end a five-game losing skid.
Settsu (9-3) yielded six hits, struck out five and walked one in a 126-pitch outing. Rookie right-hander Takehiro Norimoto (6-6) was chased on five hits in the first inning for the Eagles, who saw their winning streak end at four.
Buffaloes 5, Fighters 1
Lions 7, Marines 2
Tigers, Giants won’t open 2014 season in U.S.
The president of the Yomiuri Giants said Friday that a plan to open the 2014 season in the United States was abandoned out of concern for the players.
Team president Tsunekazu Momoi said the biggest reason for not holding an opening series against the Hanshin Tigers in southern California was that it would be a burden to (the players’) conditioning.
Sources had revealed Thursday that the prospect of large financial losses had caused the Giants and Tigers to abandon their proposal of playing one official Central League game at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium and another at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
The proposal had anticipated playing a series of preseason games against teams in the United States, but guaranteeing preseason opponents has proven difficult, and the effects of travel on the players had to be considered.
“We wanted to play in Los Angeles, but we can’t,” Momoi said. “In order to play exhibitions, we were going to have to move around.”
Commissioner Ryozo Kato has been a supporter of the proposed openers that Yomiuri was pushing to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Dainippon Tokyo Yakyu Club — the team that became the nucleus of the Yomiuri Giants.
“It is regrettable,” Kato said. “In the end, it is a matter of the 12 teams’ rights to promote games. If there is not enough profit, then that kind of decision will result. This is not the kind of thing I can dictate.”