Giants Pen Falters As Hanshin Rallies Late

Giants pen falters as Hanshin rallies lateThe Hanshin Tigers knocked off the Yomiuri Giants 5-4 on Wednesday in extra innings at Tokyo Dome, getting even in the eighth inning on a double-play grounder and taking the lead in the 10th frame on a two-run homer by Mauro Gomez.

The Giants were unable to hold onto the lead as relievers Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Scott Mathieson each gave up a pair of runs.

Yomiuri jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning for right-handed starter Yuki Koyama, who worked two outs into the sixth inning and allowed just one run.

Takahiro Aoki and Kentaro Nishimura took over and protected the two-run cushion, putting the Giants on what was supposed to be a familiar path to victory.

Yamaguchi, who is second on the team to Mathieson’s 51 appearances, came on for the 48th time after he hadn’t been called upon in recent days. His last outing was Aug. 22.

Neither reliever seemed like himself. Yamaguchi took the mound in the eighth and his control was off.

A 10-pitch at-bat ended with a walk against leadoff batter Hiroki Uemoto, and Yamaguchi plunked Ryota Imanari, the next batter, with the first pitch. Just like that, there were runners on first and second for Takashi Toritani, who ripped a double to the gap in right center to score a run.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Matt Murton grounded into a double play, but that was enough to get the tying run home from third.

“I was the same as I usually am,” Yamaguchi said about how he felt.

Mathieson (6-4) was overthrowing. He kept Hanshin off the scoreboard in the ninth, but with one on and one out in the 10th, Gomez took a fastball to the back wall in left to give the Tigers the lead.