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Saturday, June 30, 2012

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Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe belts a two-run homer in the fourth inning of Friday's game against the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome. Yomiuri won 2-1. KYODO PHOTO

Rookie Tashiro just in time for winning debut


Tokorozawa, Saitama Pref. — Shotaro Tashiro made the most of a hectic first-team debut on Friday.

The 22-year-old rookie entered as an eighth-inning pinch runner and scored the go-ahead run in the Seibu Lions' 7-5 victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters at Seibu Dome.

Called up while on the team bus en route to a farm game, Tashiro caught a taxi to Seibu Dome in time for the game. He pinch ran after mid-season acquisition Jose Ortiz doubled to open the inning off reliever Hirotoshi Masui.

Tashiro reached third on a fielder's choice when Masui fielded a sacrifice and couldn't nail the lead runner. A wild pitch brought Tashiro home. The runner Masui could have gotten at first on the sacrifice came home to score an insurance run on a groundout.

Lions captain Takumi Kuriyama opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. The umpires overturned what was originally ruled a two-run homer. When sent back to bat, Kuriyama singled home Yasuyuki Kataoka from second and this time it counted.

Hiroyuki Nakajima capped the scoring in the inning by reaching the fans in left field for a three-run homer after Esteban German reached on a bloop single off Nippon Ham idol Yuki Saito.

The Fighters, however, quickly retaliated in the fourth. Kensuke Nakata walked and scored from first when Sho Nakata's one-out double to left eluded a diving grab by Kuriyama and rolled to the wall.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kuriyama's third single of the game brought home Yutaro Osaki, who reached on an error to open the inning.

Seibu right-hander Nishiguchi, who allowed just one hit through the first four innings, was beaten up in the fifth. Shinya Tsuruoka doubled home Tomohiro Nioka with no outs, and Eiichi Koyano plated Tsuruoka with his second homer of the season.

Saito was done after allowing five runs, three earned in four innings. Nishiguchi gave himself a shot at his 183rd career victory, by leaving after five innings with a 5-4 lead, but Lions rookie Ken Togame gave away the lead in the top of the sixth.

Seibu's first-round draft pick last autumn walked the first two batters he faced. With one out and runners on second and third, Tomohiro Nioka dribbled a single through the drawn-in infield to tie it.

Lions relievers Atsushi Okamoto and Shuichiro Osada each threw a scoreless inning of relief to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the eighth.

Buffaloes 3, Marines 3 (9)

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Kei Igawa of the Orix Buffaloes pitches against the Chiba Lotte Marines during Friday's game at Kyocera Dome. KYODO PHOTO

At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, Lotte relievers Yasuhiko Yabuta and Naoya Masuda each gave up a late-inning run as Chiba Lotte wasted a strong outing by Seth Greisinger.

The Marines thumped Kei Igawa for three runs in three innings, while Greisinger allowed one run on five hits and a walk over six innings.

Eagles 6, Hawks 0

At Sendai's Kleenex Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten ace Masahiro Tanaka (5-2) outdueled Fukuoka Softbank lefty Hiroki Yamada by throwing a five-hit shutout as the Eagles broke a scoreless tie with a run in the seventh inning and added five runs in the eighth.

Rakuten broke the ice in the seventh, when Yosuke Takasu walked and then scored from second as a result of an infield single and a throwing error by pitcher Yamada (6-6).


Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Shinnosuke Abe belted a two-run, fourth-inning homer and 2011 rookie of the year Hirokazu Sawamura (5-7) allowed one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings for his first win since May 20.

The right-hander surrendered just four singles and a pair of walks, while striking out six to end a personal four-game losing streak. The win lifted the Giants to within one game of CL-leading Chunichi, which saw its winning streak snapped at four games.

Carp 2, BayStars 1

At Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium, Kenta Maeda (8-3) allowed a first-inning run and then protected a one-run lead for seven innings as Hiroshima held off Yokohama.

BayStars' right-hander Kentaro Takasaki (3-6) allowed a leadoff walk in the first, when the Carp tied it on a sacrifice fly by Eishin Soyogi and went ahead on an RBI double by Yoshihiro Maru, but battled for eight innings.

Swallows 7, Tigers 6

At Tokyo's Jingu Stadium, Yakult used three home runs to overcome a four-run deficit, and took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with the help of a wild pitch and an error as the Swallows handed Hanshin its fourth-straight loss.

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