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Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011

News photo
Stick maestro: Tigers star Matt Murton bashes a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning at Koshien Stadium on Friday against the BayStars. Hanshin defeated Yokohama 4-2. KYODO

Murton powers Tigers past woeful BayStars


NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. — Matt Murton hit a go-ahead three-run double in the sixth inning, leading the Hanshin Tigers to a 4-2 win over the Yokohama BayStars on Friday.

Murton's bases-loaded double to right-center turned a 2-1 deficit into a two-run lead at Koshien Stadium in the final home game for outgoing Tigers manager Akinobu Mayumi.

The former major leaguer went 2-for-4 on the night to raise his batting average to .312, second in the Central League only to the Yomiuri Giants' Hisayoshi Chono (.315).

Shinobu Fukuhara (2-3) won in relief. Kyuji Fujikawa threw a perfect ninth to reach 40 saves for the first time since 2007.

Kentaro Takasaki (5-15) was charged with four runs in six innings.

Shuichi Murata had two hits and a sacrifice fly for the BayStars.

Igarashi released


New York — Reliever Ryota Igarashi has been released by the New York Mets, according to an ESPN report.

The 32-year-old former Tokyo Yakult Swallows right-hander has just completed a two-year, $3 million deal.

Igarashi would not normally be eligible for free agency until after six years of major league service. But there was a clause in his contract granting free-agency rights if the sides could not agree to a new deal after the expiration of the original agreement, the report said.

Igarashi went 5-2 with a 5.74 ERA over two seasons and also spent significant stretches in the minor leagues.

Ryan's prediction


St. Louis — Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers president and chief executive had boldly predicted on a Dallas radio station that Texas would need six games to wrap up the World Series, but the St. Louis Cardinals had already taken the opener and were leading Game 2 by a run heading into the ninth inning.

That's when Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus delivered back-to-back singles, and Josh Hamilton and Michael Young followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies. Texas went on to win 2-1.

"Our offense is such that every night, we can break out and have a big inning like we did against Detroit," Ryan said before Game 2 at Busch Stadium on Thursday.

". . .I feel every night that we should score some runs and give our pitchers the opportunity to win some ballgames."

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