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Saturday, July 9, 2011

News photo
Denied: Yoshinobu Takahashi of the Giants is tagged out at home by Yoshiyuki Ishihara of the Carp to end the fourth inning at Tokyo Dome on Friday night. Yomiuri defeated Hiroshima 4-3. KYODO PHOTO

Giants come from behind to beat ace Maeda

Staff writer

Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara cracked a smile during the sixth inning of his club's game against the Hiroshima Carp. It's been a while since Hara has been able to smile in the Giants' dugout.

Then again, he hasn't seen his team resemble its old self too much this season.

The Giants roughed up Hiroshima Carp ace Kenta Maeda in a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by Hayato Sakamoto's tiebreaking RBI single, and the Yomiuri bullpen made the lead hold up in a 4-3 win on Friday at Tokyo Dome.

The win snapped the Giants' four-game losing streak.

"We haven't been playing well," Sakamoto said, "so it's good we came home with a win and could stop the losing streak."

Maeda had held the Giants scoreless entering the sixth, limiting the Kyojin to four hits before everything fell apart.

"He is a really good pitcher and threw well for five innings," Sakamoto said. "But he seemed to let up in that one inning, and we were able to get to him."

Hisayoshi Chono led off the frame with a single to center and Alex Ramirez singled to left. Shinnosuke Abe drove in a run with a double, and back-to-back RBI singles by Yoshinobu Takahashi and Michihiro Ogasawara made the score 3-3.

Maeda retired the next two batters, but Sakamoto's two-out single, his only hit of the game, brought home Ogasawara as the go-ahead run.

"Sakamoto's hit was huge, especially with two outs," Hara said.

In all, the Giants reeled off five consecutive hits and scored four runs during the frame.

"The five hits in a row showed we played tonight as a team and each batter inspired the next one," Sakamoto said.

Hara called on reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi to start the seventh, and the lefty delivered two scoreless innings of relief. Yuya Kubo worked the ninth for his first save of the year.

Reliever Norihito Kaneto (2-4) retired all three batters he faced in the sixth and picked up the win. Kaneto, Yamaguchi and Kubo combined to throw four perfect innings of relief.

"Our relievers did great," Hara said. "We have a different scenario every game with different pitchers coming in to setup and close. Tonight's scenario worked well."

Maeda took the loss after allowing four runs on 10 hits in six innings on the mound. He stuck out six and walked one.

Yomiuri's sixth-inning rally saved starter Shun Tono from recording his eighth loss of the year. Tono lasted five innings and gave up three runs on seven hits.

Chono raised his average to .326 with a 2-for-3 night at the plate. Takahashi also had a pair of hits.

Kenta Kurihara led the way for the Carp with a 2-for-4, 2-RBI performance.

Dragons 5, BayStars 2


Marines 4, Hawks 0

Buffaloes 7, Lions 3

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