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Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2001

Swallows swamp Buffaloes in Game 3

Staff writer

Two nights after bashing their way past the Yakult Swallows to even up the Japan Series at a game apiece, the Kintetsu Buffaloes practically sleepwalked through a 9-2 loss on Tuesday night in Game 3 at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium. Roberto Petagine drove in three runs with a pair of hits, Mitsuru Manaka cracked a two-run homer and Atsuya Furuta had two hits and two RBIs as the Swallows took a 2-1 lead in the series.

It was a perfect night for baseball, with a calm sky and only a slight breeze blowing, after Monday's torrential downpour. A crowd of 30,443 was on hand to see the Swallows host their first Japan Series game since 1997.

Yakult starter Satoshi Iriki treated the Yakult faithful to four innings of no-hit pitching and departed after the fifth inning, having allowed just two hits to notch the victory.

The Swallows broke the game open in the fifth when they scored four runs, highlighted by Manaka's home run.

"I don't feel any pressure, because Furuta (who is playing on an injured knee) is inspiring me with his play," said Petagine. "If everybody continues to do their job, this series is going to go our way."

Yakult wasted little time in getting to Kintetsu starter Sean Bergman, touching the right-hander for two runs in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Atsunori Inaba and an RBI single by Furuta.

Manaka led off the frame with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice by Shinya Miyamoto, then advanced to third on a wild pitch, before scoring on Inaba's fly ball to center.

With two out in the frame, Petagine walked, stole second, then scored on Furuta's single to center, making a deft move around Kintetsu catcher Kenji Furukubo to reach home safely. The inning ended when Akinori Iwamura flied out to deep center.

Iriki, who went 10-3 during the regular season, faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings, allowing only on a walk to Tuffy Rhodes, who was then thrown out trying to steal second, in the first inning.

Norihiro Nakamura finally got Kintetsu's first hit when he doubled to lead off the fifth inning. After Koichi Isobe flied out, Yuji Yoshioka walked and then Kenshi Kawaguchi pinch-hit for Bergman.

Kawaguchi had a fine at-bat, working the count full and fouling off several pitches before singling up the middle to score Nakamura and cut Yakult's lead to 2-1.

With two outs and a runner on third, Kintetsu manager Masataka Nashida gambled and chose to pinch-hit for Bergman, but the move didn't pay off as Iriki struck out Masahiro Abe.

Bergman departed having allowed two runs on only one hit, while striking out three and walking three in four innings, and took the loss.

"It's not my decision," Bergman said of his early shower. "Obviously I didn't want to come out of the game. The move seemed to bite us in the butt a bit.

"I felt good, after the first inning I calmed down a little bit," he added. "I think I was a little anxious to get out there in the first inning. I had the adrenaline going. After that I felt like I was getting into the groove. I didn't want to come out, but that's the way it goes."

Isao Koda relieved Bergman and promptly gave up a double to Katsuyuki Dobashi to start the bottom of the fifth, before surrendering a two-run homer to Manaka one out later to boost the Swallows' lead to 4-1.

Koda was pulled after allowing a single to Miyamoto, with Iori Sekiguchi taking over. Sekiguchi fanned the first batter he faced, Inaba, then yielded a two-out double to Petagine that one-hopped the wall, scoring Miyamoto to make it 5-1.

After Furuta walked, Iwamura kept the inning going with a two-strike double down the right-field line that plated Petagine and boosted Yakult's margin to 6-1. Sekiguchi finally put out the fire by fanning Alex Ramirez.

Yakult skipper Tsutomu Wakamatsu pulled Iriki in the bottom of the fifth. Iriki departed having struck out six and walked two while allowing one run.

"We still don't know how the season is going to end," Iriki said during the post-game hero interview. "We just have to keep going for the championship."

Alan Newman took over for Iriki and retired the side in order in the sixth, getting Rhodes on a broken-bat comebacker to end the frame.

The Swallows added three more runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded single by Petagine that scored Dobashi and Miyamoto, and an RBI single by Furuta that brought home Inaba.

Sekiguchi was horrible in the sixth, facing eight batters in the inning, allowing three hits and two walks, before striking out Iwamura to end the inning.

The Buffaloes scored the game's final run on a pinch-hit single by Fumitoshi Takano in the seventh.

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