It took Kentaro Nishimura a little longer than normal to meet the media after beating the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
After the longest outing of his career, he can be forgiven for being a little winded.
Nishimura threw his first complete game, Hisayoshi Chono homered and drove in three runs, and the Yomiuri Giants beat the Swallows in a 6-3 contest in front of a crowd of 39,318 on Saturday afternoon at Tokyo Dome.
“I did my best to complete the ninth inning,” Nishimura said. “I felt a little tired at the end, but wanted to go all the way. It’s a great feeling.”
Nishimura (2-0) threw 139 pitches and allowed three runs on five hits. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth before giving up a single to Norichika Aoki. Nishimura struck out five and walked two.
“Nishimura pitched great today,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. “We were able to give the bullpen a rest and he’s thrown two good games in row. So I can count on him as a regular in our starting rotation.”
The Giants beat the Swallows for the first time since April 13 and snapped a 10-game winless streak against Yakult. The Swallows lead the season series 8-3-2.
“We needed this win badly, and I’m honored my manager called on me to start today,” Nishimura said. “I’m glad I came through with a good performance.”
Chono has been the only Yomiuri player swinging the bat with any consistency and it showed against the Swallows. The second-year player was 2-for-4 at the plate, with a two-run homer in the third and an RBI single in the fourth.
“I did not think the ball I hit for the home run would go out, but I’ll take it,” Chono said.
He batted in the cleanup spot for the third straight game, as Alex Ramirez recovers from the affects of being hit by a pitch on Wednesday.
“Our regular cleanup hitter, Rami-chan, is out of the lineup,” Chono said. “So I will do my best to fill in until he comes back.”
Yomiuri’s Saburo Omura was 3-for-3 with an RBI while Michihiro Ogasawara and Yoshinobu Takahashi each finished with a pair of hits. Every Giants starter, including Nishimura, had at least one hit with the exception of leadoff man Hayato Sakamoto.
“It was nice we could get a lot of hits and score some runs today to back up Nishimura’s pitching,” Hara said.
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama drove in a pair of runs for the Swallows with a single in the sixth, and pinch hitter Ryuji Miyade added a run-scoring double in the ninth. Aoki, who was 2-for-4, was the only Swallows player with a multi-hit night.
Right-hander Hitoshi Yamamoto got the start for Yakult, but was pulled after only 2⅓ innings. Yamamoto (1-6) allowed four runs on seven hits.
Tigers trounce BayStars
Takashi Toritani, Matt Murton and Tomoaki Kanemoto each had long balls for Hanshin in a 10-2 win over the Yokohama BayStars on Saturday in the Central League.
Carp 4, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Yoshihiro Maru hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth.
Fighters 3, Lions 2
At Sapporo Dome, Bobby Keppel (9-2) tossed two-run ball over six-plus innings for Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Eagles 6, Buffaloes 1
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Kensuke Uchimura hit a bases-clearing triple in the sixth.
Hawks 1, Marines 1 (10)
At Chiba’s OVC Marine Field, Softbank’s Toshiya Sugiuchi issued a bases-loaded walk to Masato Watanabe in the eighth that tied the ballgame.