FUKUOKA – The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks took advantage of a shaky outing by Hideki Irabu Sunday en route to a convincing 13-0 drubbing of the Hanshin Tigers in Game 2 of the Japan Series at Fukuoka Dome.
Infielder Yusuke Torigoe drove in three runs in the second inning with a double and catcher Kenji Jojima connected for his second homer of the series in the third as the Hawks rocked the former New York Yankees pitcher for five runs on nine hits over three innings.
“It was a perfect chance and a perfect hit in that situation,” said Torigoe. “The ball got by the centerfielder and it was a good way to get us started.”
The win gave Sadaharu Oh’s Hawks a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 will played on Tuesday at Koshien Stadium.
Jojima, who belted 34 homers in the regular season, gave Daiei a commanding 5-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a solo blast into the left field stands off Irabu, who was lifted before recording an out in the fourth.
Daiei starter Toshiya Sugiuchi, who went 10-8 in the regular season, gave up five hits over eight scoreless innings while striking out five for the win. Rookie Nagisa Arakaki retired the side in the ninth.
“I was a bit nervous at first,” said Sugiuchi. “I know what the Tigers are capable of and I was just trying to keep them in check. I got a lot of early run support and that certainly helped me relax as the game went on.”
Irabu, who went 13-8 in the regular season but struggled over the second half, took the loss.
Designated hitter Julio Zuleta, the hero of Saturday’s 5-4 win, gave the Hawks an 8-0 lead with a towering three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh off Hanshin reliever Takehito Kanazawa.
Oh said Sunday’s one-sided win would give his team confidence heading to Koshien Stadium for the next three games.
“It was a tough game for us yesterday but the players were able to relax a bit today,” said Oh. “Torigoe got us started with that double and hopefully we can keep it going at Koshien.”
Torigoe got the Hawks rolling with a bases-loaded double in the second that skidded by center fielder Norihiro Akahoshi and rolled all the way to the wall to score three runs.
Munenori Kawasaki tripled to the wall in left to add another run as Daiei jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the second inning.
Kawasaki also tripled in a run in the bottom of the seventh when the Hawks scored five runs to put the game out of reach.
Former Texas Ranger Pedro Valdes added insult to injury with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off Kanazawa that made it 13-0.
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