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Despaigne powers Marines past Buffaloes

by

Staff Writer

Meta

Alfredo Despaigne set the tone early, and the rest of the Chiba Lotte Marines were in lockstep right behind him.

Despaigne homered, drove in a pair of runs and finished a triple short of the cycle to lead a 14-hit attack as the Marines routed the Orix Buffaloes 12-3 on an overcast Saturday afternoon at QVC Marine Field.

“The ball flew pretty well,” Despaigne said of his third-inning home run.

“It’s been awhile to hit a home run at home at QVC Marine Field and hear ‘Despa-ii-ne,‘ ” he said, referring to the play on his name used when Marines fans are voicing their approval of the Cuban slugger. “It feels great.”

Despaigne got things started early for Lotte, hustling out of the box in his first at-bat, in the second inning, to stretch a single into a double. He would eventually come around to score the first run of the game. He connected on his 10th homer of the season the next time up and delivered an RBI single in his fourth at-bat. He had a chance at the cycle in the seventh, but drew a walk and was lifted for a pinch runner.

It wasn’t any easier to get the other Marines out either. Eight of Lotte’s nine starters finished with at least one-hit and six had multi-hit games.

Daichi Suzuki was one of the multi-hit Marines and the Lotte captain also drove in four runs. His two-run single in the second was the hit that put the Marines ahead to stay.

“Everyone had done their part to create that chance, so I really felt like I need to come through with something,” Suzuki said.

Lotte’s Tatsuhiro Tamura was credited with two RBIs after drawing a pair of walks with the bases loaded. Yoshifumi Okada also drove in two runs, the first on a double in the fourth and another with an RBI single in the sixth. Katsuya Kakunaka’s only hit of the day was a two-run triple.

Marines starter Hideaki Wakui improved to 6-5, allowing a pair of runs on eight hits. He struck out four in his five innings of work.

Brandon Dickson, who entered the game with a 1.36 ERA that was the lowest in NPB lasted five innings for the Buffaloes, his shortest outing of the season, and took the loss. He allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked three.

“I felt fine, I was just sloppy today,” Dickson said. “Really, that’s all it was, I was just sloppy out there.”

Dickson (8-5) struggled with his control and had trouble throwing strikes. The Marines were selective in their approach against him and had great success until Dickson was relieved after throwing 104 pitches.

“I really wasn’t throwing fastballs for strikes early,” Dickson said. “They kind of just eliminated that pitch. It’s like when I needed to throw a curveball, they were waiting on it. They could tell if it was going to be a strike or not. By not being able to be consistent with my fastball, it made my curveball less effective.”

The Orix starter had been pitching extremely well in recent weeks and was the Pacific League Monthly MVP for his performance in May. Dickson said he’s not feeling tired or worn down at this point in the season, and pinned his performance on a bad day.

“I feel like everybody has a game like this every now and again,” Dickson said. “I guess it was past due for me. Hopefully it’s the last one for awhile.”

Lions tame Fighters

KYODO

Hideto Asamura’s three-run, fourth-inning homer, his second in two days, put the game out of reach as the Seibu Lions pounded the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 9-3 on Saturday, routing their Pacific League foe for the second straight day.

Ken Togame (6-3) held the Fighters to two runs over six innings to pick up the win.

Hawks at Eagles — ppd.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 5, BayStars 3

At Koshien Stadium, Kosuke Fukudome slammed two solo home runs to help hand Central League-leading Hanshin to a victory over Yokohama.

Fukudome tied the game 3-3 with a solo shot off BayStars starter Shoichi Ino in the sixth, and slugged another off impressive southpaw Kenjiro Tanaka (2-2) to dead center in the eighth to single-handedly overturn the deficit.

“(On the first home run) the wind was blowing in, so I was a little worried, but I made solid contact. The second one had an even better feel to it, and I had gone into the box looking to get one deep,” said Fukudome after helping Hanshin to its first five-game winning streak this season.

Fukudome scored from first on Mauro Gomez’ two-out RBI double in the first inning for 1-0 lead, and scored another in the sixth. With the Tigers trailing 3-1, Fukudome led off with a triple and scored on Hiroki Uemoto’s RBI single.

In the second, RBI singles by the BayStars’ Aarom Baldiris and Toshihiko Kuramoto off Randy Messenger turned the game around for Yokohama, and Ino helped himself with a rare RBI groundout to right for a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth.

After Fukudome seized control of the game, Mauro Gomez slugged a solo shot over the left field in the eighth to make it 5-3.

Messenger gave up three runs — two earned — over seven innings, while reliever Shinobu Fukuhara (4-2) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win in relief. Oh Seung-hwan worked the ninth to record his 21st save.

Giants 1, Swallows 0

At Shizuoka’s Kusanagi Stadium, Yomiuri’s Miles Mikolas (4-3) shut out Tokyo Yakult on two hits without a walk, and Shinnosuke Abe broke the deadlock with a solo shot off Swallows starter Nagisa Arakaki (2-6), who allowed five hits over eight innings.

Carp 6, Dragons 4

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima ace Kenta Maeda (6-5) allowed three runs in seven innings to earn the win after Chunichi starter Yuta Muto (2-3) surrendered four, first-inning runs and lasted just one-third of an inning.