The usually formidable Yomiuri Giants had a rough time hitting home runs last week.
Yoshiyuki Kamei and company made up for it by hitting a week’s worth in one night.
Hayato Sakamoto got the ball rolling with a leadoff shot, Kamei went deep twice and Yoshitomo Tani and Alex Ramirez also homered as the Central League leaders cruised to their fourth straight win, an 8-3 victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in front of 45,835 fans on Monday at Tokyo Dome.
“Sakamoto’s leadoff home run set the pace tonight and we got the long ball from Kamei twice and from Rami, and (Daisuke) Nakai got his first career hit,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. “We also had excellent pitching from (Hisanori) Takahashi and (Kiyoshi) Toyoda, so it was a complete team victory. We hope to keep the winning streak alive as long as we can.”
Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe collected his 1,000th career hit during the game while the Giants improved to 8-5-3 in interleague play. The Eagles are an NPB-worst 4-12 during the koryusen schedule.
Kamei opened the game with a highlight-worthy catch in center field, then homered in the fourth and seventh innings on a 3-for-4, three-RBI day at the plate. Kamei has been one the Giants’ main weapons over the past seven games, batting .480 with three homers during that span.
“I was able to get good wood on the ball twice tonight so I’m happy about that and I feel really good at the plate right now,” Kamei said.
Tani also homered, hitting a tiebreaking shot to deep center in the fourth off Rakuten starter Kohei Hasebe.
Ramirez got into the act in the fifth, delighting the crowd on “Alex Ramirez Player Day” with a solo homer.
“It’s great to be able to hit a home run on my day,” Ramirez said. “I’d like to thank the fans for coming out and this is a really special day for me.”
Lee Seung Yeop nearly hit a pinch-hit homer in the sixth, settling instead for a two-run double.
Nakai didn’t go deep but received a nice ovation after recording the first hit of his professional career with a single in the fourth. The 19-year-old finished 1-for-4 at the plate and was solid in the field in just his second game — his first home game — with the Giants.
Hasebe bore the brunt of the offensive outburst, yielding three runs — all on solo homers — on six hits over 3 2/3 innings.
Takahashi picked up the win despite giving up all three runs. Takahashi struck out three and walked one in 7 1/3 innings.
Toyoda worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings to notch the save.
Sakamoto put the Giants ahead early with his solo shot to lead off the bottom of the first.
Hasebe helped his own cause, after giving up the early homer, with a game-tying RBI single into left field in the top of the second.
The Giants took a 4-1 lead on Tani and Kamei’s back-to-back homers in the fourth and picked up another run on Ramirez’s blast in the fifth.
Lee drove in two runs in the sixth with a double and Kamei hit a two-run homer in seventh to make the lead 8-1.
The Eagles finally got things going at the plate in the eighth, scoring two runs on back-to-back RBI singles from Toshiya Nakashima and Teppei Tsuchiya.
“I ran out of gas at the end and wish I could have finished the game,” Takahashi said. “But I’ll take it.”
Hawks crush Tigers
NISHINOMIYA , Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) D.J. Houlton pitched one-run ball in his second complete game of the season, while Hitoshi Tamura and Hidenori Tanoue drove in three runs apiece in the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks’ 8-1 rout of the Hanshin Tigers on Monday at Koshien Stadium.
With a runner on second and two outs in the fourth inning, Tamura lofted a 2-1 forkball by Yasutomo Kubo (1-4) into the stands in left-center to cap the three-run frame. He added an RBI single in a five-run sixth, which also featured Tanoue’s bases-clearing double.
The Tigers, who managed just four hits, had their winning streak snapped at four games.
BayStars 4, Marines 3
At Yokohama Stadium, Toshiyuki Kitagawa hit a grand slam in the fifth inning for his first career homer as Yokohama overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat Chiba Lotte and halt a seven-game losing streak.
In his seventh year as a pro, Kitagawa homered to right-center off Yuta Omine (2-4) with one out in the fifth. Daisuke Miura (6-3) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Shun Yamaguchi picked up his fourth save. Shoitsu Omatsu hit a two-run homer for Lotte in the fourth.
Carp 6, Buffaloes 5
At Shimanami Stadium, Masato Akamatsu broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single and pinch hitter Koichi Ogata added a two-run single, his 1,500th career hit, in the eighth inning as Hiroshima handed Orix its sixth consecutive loss.
The Buffaloes scored two runs off Katsuhiro Nagakawa in the ninth, but the Carp closer struck out Ryota Aikawa for the final out, stranding the potential tying run on second.
Swallows 4, Fighters 3
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Shinichi Takeuchi followed a Ryoji Aikawa leadoff double with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Yakult a walk-off victory over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Takeuchi’s base hit to left off Yoshinori Tateyama (2-3) scored pinch runner Yasushi Iihara.
Swallows closer Lim Chang Yong (1-0) worked the ninth and kept his ERA at 0.00 for the season.
Lions 5, Dragons 3
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