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Hurt so good …

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Hurt so good …
Giants rest cleanup man Ramirez, new lineup tops Tigers

Alex Ramirez saw the end of his 469-consecutive-game streak as a cleanup man ended with a manager’s decision to rest him and insert the Yomiuri Giants’ hottest hitter in the No. 4 hole.

The circumstances seemed to spark Dicky Gonzalez, who fired seven scoreless innings.

The Puerto Rican allowed five hits and a walk with six Ks, and second-year Hisayoshi Chono, hitting cleanup spot for the first time, had a double in a four-run third inning as the Giants blanked the Hanshin Tigers 4-0 at Koshien Stadium.

“I feel so happy, I haven’t had this feeling for a long time,” said Gonzalez, who hadn’t won a game since Sept. 12. “When I got sent down, I wanted to work hard and work on all my pitches and try to get them back to [get] a new chance.”

Gonzalez took advantage of his chance, (1-1) singling to left with one out in the third. Hayato Sakamoto followed with a single before the Giants put together three straight extra-base hits. Yoshiyuki Kamei tripled in two, Saburo Omura added an RBI double before Chono, the team’s leading hitter at .316, blasted a two-bagger to the wall in left center to cap the rally.

“Dicky got the whole thing started with his hit, which told the guys, ‘This is the how you do it,” Hara said. “He made it happen and it sparked the others.”

Ramirez had played every game as the Giants’ cleanup man since May 3, 2008, but he sat out with bruising caused when he was hit by a pitch in the right leg on Wednesday. He came on as a pinch-hitter with one out in the ninth inning and grounded out to extend his consecutive games played streak to 985.

CARP 2, BAYSTARS 1

Kenta Maeda (4-6) held Yokohama to a run on six hits and no walks with a career-best-tying 11 Ks over eight innings, and Tetsuya Kokubo’s RBI go-ahead single in the sixth was the difference as Hiroshima won at The Zoom.

Dennis Sarfate fanned two in the ninth to collect his 20th save, becoming the first foreign hurler to notch at least 20 saves since John Bale did it in 2005.

DRAGONS 2, SWALLOWS 2

Josh Whitesell’s two-run homer in the sixth tied the score, and neither team could push home a run at Jingu in a stalemate ended in the 10th inning by the 210-minute time limit.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

MARINES 2, LIONS 1

Atsushi Kobayashi (1-2) held Seibu to two hits and a walk with three Ks over seven innings for his first pro win as Lotte shut down the Lions at The Q.

Masato Watanabe’s RBI triple in the seventh proved to be the difference as Lotte swept Seibu.

EAGLES 0, HAWKS 0

Masahiro Tanaka fanned nine, allowing four hits over 10 scoreless innings, but Rakuten couldn’t push home a run against visiting SoftBank in a 12-inning tie.


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