YOKOHAMA — Daisuke Miura didn’t want to wait too long to pick up his first win of the season. So he made Hanshin Tigers slugger Tomoaki Kanemoto wait at least one more night before reaching his own goal.
Miura (1-1) took the teeth out of the Hanshin lineup over eight strong innings and Ryoji Aikawa drove in the winning run in the sixth as the Yokohama BayStars defeated the Tigers 2-1 at Yokohama Stadium.
Miura gave up five hits over eight innings, allowing just a single run and struck out six to earn the victory.
Miura was sharp after allowing the Tigers to take an early lead and was rewarded when Aikawa’s two-out RBI single late in the game put him in line for the win.
“He pitched well,” BayStars manager Akihiko Oya said of Miura.
“It would have been tough if he could not have won.”
Matt White worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the save after Oya opted against allowing his starter, who had a 132-pitch night, to try for the complete game.
“He was around 120 pitches in the seventh inning,” Oya said. “So I felt we should make the change.”
Kanemoto finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to remain one hit away from his milestone 2,000th hit.
“He swung at too many balls with a mind that he wants to hit,” Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada told Kyodo News.
“The one he watched was a strike,” Okada added, referring to a called third strike in the third inning that left Kanemoto staring at the home-plate umpire in disbelief.
With one more hit, Kanemoto will become the 37th member of the “Meikyukai,” (Golden Players Club) a prestigious honor reserved for batters that reach the 2,000-hit plateau and pitchers that accumulate 200 wins or 250 career saves.
Since collecting his 1,999th hit on April 6, Kanemoto has been mired in an 0-for-13 slump that includes seven strikeouts.
Hanshin starter Yuya Ando pitched well enough to win the game, but took the loss when the Tigers couldn’t rally against Miura.
Ando (2-1) struck out 10 over eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and walking three.
He was forced to leave the field briefly in the third after Takuro Ishii’s RBI single ricocheted off his right leg. He was treated in the Hanshin dugout before returning to the mound.
The Tigers went ahead 1-0 in the second on Lew Ford’s sacrifice fly.
Ishii knotted the score with his RBI single in the third.
Slugger Shuichi Murata, last season’s Central League home-run leader, got the BayStars going in the sixth with a leadoff double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt.
He scored the winning run on Aikawa’s single to right.
Wada lifts Dragons
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Kazuhiro Wada homered twice and drove in all seven runs as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hiroshima Carp 7-3 on Friday to pick up their first win in three games.
Wada opened his big night with a grand slam off Kan Otake (0-2) in the first inning and added a three-run shot in the fifth after Hiroshima pulled within 4-3 in the fourth.
Kenta Asakura (2-1) earned the win after allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Scott Seabol hit a two-run homer and Soichiro Amaya went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Carp, who lost for the first time in four games.
Giants 2, Swallows 1
At Tokyo Dome, Yoshinobu Takahashi and Yoshiyuki Kamei opened the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back homers and Seth Greisinger threw seven effective innings against his former team as Yomiuri handed Tokyo Yakult its fourth straight loss.
Greisinger (1-1) allowed one run and eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts before Kiyoshi Toyoda pitched a perfect eighth and Marc Kroon closed out the ninth to earn his third save.
Kyohei Muranaka (1-1) was charged with two runs and four hits in six innings.
Lions 8, Hawks 3
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Yasuyuki Kataoka, Takumi Kuriyama and Hiroyuki Nakajima delivered consecutive RBI hits in a four-run rally in the fourth inning, lifting Pacific League leader Seibu over Fukuoka Softbank.
Kataoka, who went 3-for-5, Nakajima and Takahiko “G.G.” Sato drove in two runs apiece as the Lions came back from a 3-1 deficit to score eight runs against Toshiya Sugiuchi (1-1) en route to its eighth win in nine games.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 4 (10)
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, pinch hitter Katsumi Yamashita singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th as Tohoku Rakuten held off Orix to stop its losing streak at six games.
Fighters 3, Marines 2
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Chiba Lotte first baseman Jose Ortiz made a costly error in the sixth inning, giving Hokkaido Nippon Ham the go-ahead run in extending its winning streak to five games.