Potent sluggers set tone for triumphant Giants against BayStars


A replay review was needed to confirm Hayato Sakamoto had actually led off the first inning with a home run.

The bombs hit by Alex Ramirez, Michihiro Ogasawara and Edgar Gonzalez left nothing to chance.

The Yomiuri Giants quartet homered, starter Satoshi Fukuda survived a shaky outing, and the Giants’ bullpen helped put away the Yokohama BayStars in a 5-2 victory on Saturday at Tokyo Dome.

Sakamoto hit a deep drive to center that appeared to hit the top of the wall before bouncing back onto the field during the opening frame. Sakamoto stopped at third as Giants manager Tatsunori Hara came out to argue that the ball actually struck the yellow wire above the fence, which would make it a home run.

The umpires took a brief look at the replays and the Yomiuri skipper was proven right as Sakamoto was allowed to trot home from third.

The review came a day after a similar play involving Giants outfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi, who rounded the bases but was sent back to second after having a home run overturned upon review.

Ramirez continued his torrid pace against the BayStars, connecting on his Japanese baseball-leading 38th homer in the fourth. Ramirez finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and is 6-for-8 in the first two games of the series.

Ogasawara hit his 25th homer of the year in the fifth and Gonzalez added a two-run shot in the sixth. Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, finishing with a multi-hit night for the fifth time in six games.

Fukuda (3-3) wasn’t sharp on the mound, but managed to labor through five scoreless innings for the win. Fukuda gave up five hits and struck out four.

The bullpen took over from there, with Tetsuya Yamaguchi, Yuya Kubo and Daisuke Ochi combining to throw three perfect innings to send the Giants into the ninth with a 5-0 lead.

Yamaguchi set the tone by striking out the first two batters he faced in the sixth and getting the third out on a ground ball.

“I took the mound knowing we couldn’t lose this game,” Yamaguchi said. “It was good I could pitch OK.”

Kubo and Ochi took care of the rest, retiring the next six BayStars in order.

“The two guys before me pitched so well and I just wanted to continue our team’s shutout pitching,” said Ochi, who worked the eighth.

Shuichi Murata got the BayStars on the board with a solo homer in the ninth off reliever Masumi Hoshino. Yokohama added another run on Shinji Niinuma’s one-out pinch-hit RBI single against Marc Kroon.

BayStars hurler Atori Ota (0-1) took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in five-plus innings.

Yakult streak ends

OSAKA (Kyodo) Takahiro Arai drove in two runs, Jason Standridge took a shutout into the seventh inning and the Hanshin Tigers ended the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ winning streak at 10 games, topping the visitors 4-3 on Saturday in the Central League.

Standridge (8-2) allowed two runs in six-plus innings. Kyuji Fujikawa finished for his 20th save. Katsuki Akagawa (0-1) gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings in his season debut.

Dragons 4, Carp 3 (12)

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Araki hit a game-ending RBI single off Hiroshima reliever Takayuki Oshima (1-1) in the 12th, giving Chunichi its third win in a row.


Hawks 2, Fighters 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Toshiya Sugiuchi threw his fourth shutout of the season to share the lead for the most wins in Japanese baseball as Fukuoka Softbank blanked Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Sugiuchi (14-5) allowed just two hits, struck out 12 and walked three in a 131-pitch outing. Ryo Sakakibara (5-1) took the loss.

Marines 3, Eagles 2

Lions 8, Buffaloes 3