Ishii’s pinch-hit single in 7th lifts Yomiuri past Yakult
Every winning team needs a veteran player at the end of the bench who can produce even though his number is called only a few times a season.
The Giants showed off some reserve energy, getting production on Friday from pinch-hitter Yoshihito Ishii to beat the Yakult Swallows 4-3 at Tokyo Dome and win their sixth straight.
Ishii, in just his 23rd at-bat this season, capped a two-out, bases-empty rally off reliever Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi (2-5) that pushed the Giants in front before the Yomiuri bullpen took care of the rest.
The 34-year-old Ishii, in his 16th season, was released by the Seibu Lions in the offseason and made the team after a tryout. His sixth hit of the season helped rookie Seiji Tahara (2-0) -- who won his first pro game the previous night -- win back-to-back games.
Tahara, though, allowed an inherited runner to score -- the tying run in the top of the seventh when Kazuhiro Hatakeyama slapped a double to left -- but got the next batter for a one-out win.
Shuichi Murata hit his eighth longball, and Hisayoshi Chono and Tetsuya Matsumoto also knocked in runs for the Central League’s front-running Giants, who moved 28 games above .500.
CARP 3, TIGERS 0
Kan Otake (9-3) fired six scoreless innings and four relievers closed it out as Hiroshima handed slumping Hanshin its 15th shutout loss -- third in its last five games -- while the Carp returned to .500.
Minoru Iwata (5-11) uncorked a first-inning wild pitch with a runner at third for the only run Hiroshima would need to send Hanshin to its seventh straight loss [18 games under .500]. Brad Eldred blasted a two-run homer in the third inning [raising his average to .323], his second blast in as many games.
EAGLES 6, HAWKS 3
Akihisa Makida’s third-inning two-run double knocked loser Sho Iwasaki (4-9) out of the game and helped Rakuten build an early led in a win over SoftBank at FYJ Dome.
Makida also added an RBI single in a two-run seventh as the Eagles, who posted double digits in hits for the third consecutive game, won their third straight following an eight-game skid.
MARINES 8, BUFFALOES 7
Josh Whitesell’s bases-clearing double in the sixth inning put Lotte in front as the Marines came back to win the opener of a three-game set against last-place Orix at The Q.
LIONS 7, FIGHTERS 1
Chris Carter had a three-run blast [his second with the club] in the first and added an RBI single in the fourth, and Ryoma Nogami (5-3) battled through seven hits and five walks with the help of five Ks as host Seibu pounded Nippon Ham.
Hiroyuki Nakajima added three hits, including an RBI double, and drove in three to raise his average to a PL-best .327.
[Edited by: jgibson on Aug 11, 2012 12:12 AM]