Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Furuya, Tamura help Marines cage Lions

by Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Takuya Furuya just got the job done with five innings of two-run ball and catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly before providing an encore with a two-run single as the Chiba Lotte Marines defeated the Seibu Lions 10-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Backed by some strong relief from the bullpen and two-run blasts by Alfredo Despaigne and Ikuhiro Kiyota at QVC Marine Field, Lotte snapped the Pacific League-leading Lions’ winning streak at seven games. Furuya (1-0) gave up four hits, struck out four and walked one to win in his season debut.

“I had to really work hard on the farm team to get here today,” said Furuya. “I tried to keep the ball down and just throw my pitches. I was able to approach the mound just like I usually do. Well, it just feels great to be alive.”

The Lions got on the board in the fourth after missing an opportunity in the opening frame, when a runner got as far as second on an infield hit and an error.

Hideto Asamura drew a one-out walk and, after Takeya Nakamura struck out swinging for the second out, Ernesto Mejia belted an 0-1 fastball to the visitors’ section in left to make it a 2-0 ballgame.

But the home team rallied in the bottom half. Katsuya Kakunaka had a leadoff single to left, and one out later Toshiaki Imae singled to the same direction before Kazuya Fukuura walked to load the bases.

Daichi Suzuki drilled a two-run double to the gap in right-center to tie it, and Tamura’s sac fly to center gave Lotte the lead.

“I am just happy the ball got through there. I have been getting advice from my teammates on how to approach my hitting. Today I was able to put that into practice,” said Tamura.

Seibu starter Ryoma Nogami (4-2) lasted just four-plus innings. He yielded three runs and five hits, while striking out two and walking one. Right-hander Toshiro Iwao took over but surrendered three runs in two innings of relief.

Lotte reliever Tomohisa Otani allowed a two-out single to Mejia in the sixth and 19-year-old Tomoya Mori almost turned the tables, when he teed off on the right-hander’s full-count forkball, but center fielder Yoshifumi Okada made a leaping grab at the wall to kill the rally.

After a pair of singles to lead off the bottom of the sixth and a sacrifice bunt, Tamura chopped a 3-2 pitch that bounced in front of the plate and over short for a two-run single. Kiyota added an RBI double to make it 6-2.

“Today we did a good job (working together as catcher and pitcher). On that home run to Mejia we were rushing a bit, but otherwise he was keeping the pitches down in the zone,” Tamura said.

With one runner aboard in the seventh, Despaigne crushed reliever Hirotaka Koishi’s 2-0 changeup into the seats in left-center. Kiyota, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, tacked on a two-run drive to center in the eighth to cap the scoring.

Buffaloes 8, Fighters 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Francisco Caraballo and Tony Blanco hit back-to-back homers to drive in three runs between them in the third inning and Orix snapped a five-game skid in a rout of Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Eagles 3, Hawks 2 (12)

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Lee Dae-ho hit a game-tying two-run home run in the seventh that forced extra innings, but Eagles catcher Motohiro Shima put his team in the driver’s seat with a leadoff homer in the 12th as Tohoku Rakuten beat Softbank.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 2, BayStars 1 (11)

At Niigata’s Hard Off Eco Stadium, a hit batsman provided a leadoff runner in the 11th inning, and Takahiro Suzuki, who scored the tying run in the ninth as a pinch-runner, stole his second base of the game, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored the tiebreaking run on Seiji Kobayashi’s groundout in Yomiuri’s win over first-place Yokohama. The loss ended the BayStars’ six-game win streak.

Dragons 9, Swallows 1

At Akita’s Komachi Stadium, Kazuki Yoshimi (3-0) threw one-run ball over six innings, Ricardo Nanita went 3-for-4 with an RBI single in a three-run third and Chunichi demolished Tokyo Yakult in a 14-hit onslaught to move into third place.

Carp 10, Tigers 0

At Hyogo Prefecture’s Koshien Stadium, Takahiro Arai drove in four runs on 2-for-4 hitting and Seiya Suzuki hit a grand slam in his team’s 16-hit attack as Hiroshima clobbered Hanshin to win its fifth in a row and pull out of last place. Kris Johnson (4-0) tossed seven scoreless innings.