BayStars break out of slump, defeat Lions



TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. — The Yokohama BayStars finally found some offense.

Once that was out of the way, everything else just fell into place.

Seiichi Uchikawa drove in three runs and Jose Castillo chipped in with a pair of RBIs to help the BayStars snap a four-game skid with a 6-2 win over the Seibu Lions on Tuesday at Seibu Dome.

“We have to take everything day by day, game by game,” Castillo said. “We won today, so right now we’re happy.”

Slumping Yokohama had scored just two runs over the past four games and was coming off back-to-back shutouts.

The BayStars got their mojo back at the plate just in time to cool off red-hot Seibu starter Kazuhisa Ishii and upset the Lions, who entered the day in first place in the Pacific League and were tied with the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Orix Buffaloes atop the interleague standings.

The Lions fell to second in both races after Lotte’s victory over the Yomiuri Giants.

“We just had some good hitting today,” Castillo said. “I just follow these guys. I’m just happy for the team.”

Uchikawa led the way, going 3-for-4 for Yokohama. He drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single in the opening frame and helped put things on ice with a two-run triple in the fifth.

“That was a tough pitch,” BayStars manager Takeo Obana said, referring to the 1-2 forkball Uchikawa ripped into right field in the fifth. “But he was able to hit it and drive in those runs for us.”

Castillo’s 1-for-4 night was highlighted by a two-run double in the first. Teammate Takehiro Ishikawa finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Winning pitcher Naoyuki Shimizu scattered six hits, allowing two runs and striking out two in seven innings. Shimizu (6-3), who tossed a shutout against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in his last start, has won two straight and four of his last five decisions.

Ishii (6-3), entering the contest having won four of his last five, allowed five runs — four earned — on six hits and finished with one strikeout in five innings.

Ishikawa opened the game with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error by second baseman Yasuyuki Kataoka. Tatsuya Shimozono bunted Ishikawa over to third, bringing up Uchikawa with one away. The first baseman took his time at the plate, ending an eight-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to left.

A double from Shuichi Murata put runners on second and third and Castillo drove them in with his double later in the inning.

Seibu’s Takuya Hara homered in the bottom half of the first to make the score 3-1. The Lions pulled another run back in the third on Hiroyuki Nakajima’s RBI double down the left-field line.

Uchikawa out-dueled Ishii again in the fifth, driving in a pair of runs with his triple. A sacrifice fly by Ishikawa in the seventh put the BayStars on top 6-2.

The two squads meet for the final time during the regular season on Wednesday at Seibu Dome, with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.

Marines rout Giants

CHIBA (Kyodo) Toshiaki Imae and Kim Tae Kyun each hit two-run homers, Bill Murphy threw seven shutout innings and the Chiba Lotte Marines trounced the Yomiuri Giants 11-0 on Tuesday.

Dragons 4, Buffaloes 3

At Kobe’s Skymark Stadium, Motonobu Tanishige had a two-run go-ahead single in the top of the ninth inning, Kazuhiro Wada hit his 15th home run of the season and Chunichi rallied past Orix to snap a three-game losing skid.

Carp 5, Fighters 4

At Sapporo Dome, Eishin Soyogi broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI double to deep center in the top of the ninth and Hiroshima prevailed in a seesaw contest against Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Swallows 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, pinch hitter Ryo Yoshimoto tied it with an RBI double in the seventh inning and Norichika Aoki followed with a go-ahead RBI single, rallying Tokyo Yakult past Fukuoka Softbank.

Eagles 3, Tigers 2

At Kleenex Stadium, Teppei Tsuchiya capped his three-hit night with a “sayonara” single as Tohoku Rakuten edged Hanshin.