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Second-inning outburst propels Carp past Giants

Hiroshima ends 14-game losing streak at Tokyo Dome

by Jason Coskrey

Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Carp weren’t pleased with how things went in their first game after the All-Star break.

It’s safe to say Yomiuri Giants pitcher Ryosuke Miyaguni can relate.

Kenta Maeda and Fred Lewis each hit two-run doubles, Kila Ka’aihue added a two-run homer, and the Carp pushed across eight runs against Miyaguni in the second inning of an 11-2 romp Thursday night at Tokyo Dome.

“We overall played a great game,” Lewis said. “We had great pitching, we kept them off balance, we put up some runs and it felt good to get a win against these guys because we haven’t had great success against them.”

Lewis had a big night, driving in four runs with a pair of doubles and a single.

“Just a lot of rest, not even thinking today at the plate, and just seeing the ball and hitting it,” Lewis said when asked to explain his performance.

Ka’aihue was 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Maeda drove in a pair of runs, Takahiro Iwamoto had a pinch-hit solo homer, and Ryuhei Matsuyama and Yoshiyuki Ishihara had an RBI apiece for the Carp, who finished with 13 hits.

The win ended a 14-game losing streak by the Carp at Tokyo Dome, dating back to last season. The victory also snapped Hiroshima’s current three-game losing streak.

“It’s a great start,” Lewis said. “We were awful yesterday, we played well today, and hopefully the next time we see these guys we play better baseball.”

The Carp threw up a dud in their first game back from the All-Star break, an 8-4 loss to the Giants on Wednesday, and went down in order to start Thursday’s contest.

Then the floodgates opened. Ka’aihue doubled and Eishin Soyogi singled to put runners on for Matsuyama, who promptly deposited a ball in center for an RBI single. Shota Dobayashi walked to load the bases, and Ishihara singled to make the score 2-0.

Carp starting pitcher Maeda increased the lead with his two-run double.

“I like to help my own cause in the batter’s box as well as on the pitcher’s mound,” Maeda said.

Lewis followed him with a two-run double that made the score 6-0 until Ka’aihue, batting for the second time in the inning, took Miyaguni for a ride over the center-field wall to drive in two more runs.

Miyaguni (4-5) was pulled after 1 2/3 innings and was charged with eight runs on seven hits. He struck out two and walked one. It was the second consecutive bad outing for the right-hander, who lasted three innings and gave up five runs — three earned — on seven hits in his last start on July 17 against the Hanshin Tigers.

Yomiuri’s Seiji Tahara relived the starter and gave up a pair of runs himself, on a two-run single by Lewis in the third, in 1 1/3 innings.

Iwamoto padded the lead with his solo homer off Manny Acosta in the eighth.

Maeda took advantage of the run support to improve to 8-5. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out five over seven innings.

“I was really relaxed after I got that eight-run cushion early in the game,” Maeda said. “I gave up the home run to (John) Bowker, but it’s OK. I’m satisfied with my performance tonight.”

The Giants were held to five hits, with Bowker’s two-run homer in the sixth among the Kyojin’s few highlights.

“Obviously this was not one of our better games this season,” said Giants manager Tatsunori Hara. “Hiroshima played really well tonight. Miyaguni did not have his usual good stuff. That’s all I can say.”

The first-place Giants have lost five of their last eight.

Hiroshima hopes to use the win as a springboard into the second half. The Carp entered the game fifth in the CL standings, but just two games out of third place.

“Hopefully tonight’s game was a wake-up call for us,” Carp manager Kenjiro Nomura said. “If we can play more games like this with good hitting, pitching and defense, we’ll be OK.”

Swallows hammer Tigerss

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Ryoji Aikawa broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run, fourth-inning home run off marquee rookie Shintaro Fujinami, and ace Masanori Ishikawa (3-7) held Hanshin to four hits over the distance in a 11-1 win on Thursday in the Central League.

Wladimir Balentien, who has led the CL in homers the last two seasons and is now on pace to eclipse Japan’s single-season record of 55, hit his 33rd for the Swallows.

Dragons 2, BayStars 1 (11)

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiko Morino tied the game in the eighth inning and started the winning rally with an 11th-inning infield single as Chunichi came from behind to defeat Yokohama.

The Dragons won it on Yohei Oshima’s pinch-hit, bases-loaded infield single.

The BayStars opened the scoring in the first, when captain Takehiro Ishikawa drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on Noriharu Yamazaki’s no-out single.

PACIFIC LEAGUE


Lions 11, Marines 4

At Seibu Dome, Shogo Akiyama opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI single and iced it in the fifth inning with a three-run home run as Seibu overcame a late home run barrage by Chiba Lotte.

Trailing 4-1 in the top of the fifth, the Marines made it close with solo homers from Tadahito Iguchi, his 18th, and Craig Brazell, his fourth. Brazell added another solo shot in the ninth for his fifth homer in his last four games.

Hawks 5, Eagles 2

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, a night after blowing a ninth-inning lead in a loss to Tohoku Rakuten, Softbank came from behind to beat the PL-leading Eagles.

Former Chicago Cub Bryan LaHair tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh with his 13th home run of the season, and Akira Nakamura’s RBI double made it 3-2. Nobuhiro Matsuda’s ninth homer, a two-run shot in the eighth, put the game away.

Buffaloes 6, Fighters 4

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Lee Dae-ho went 4-for-4 with a game-tying home run in the sixth inning and a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth as Orix came from behind to knock off Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

The Buffaloes’ Aarom Baldiris halved the Fighters’ four-run lead with a two-run double in the fourth inning, and drove in an insurance run with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly.