The Giants second crack at Yoshihisa Naruse did not pan out any better than their first.
The Lotte lefty allowed a run over the distance as the Marines closed to within one game of interleague-leading Yomiuri with a 2-1 victory at Tokyo Dome on Sunday.
“We wanted to trim their lead to a game and we wouldn’t be able to do that unless we won here today,” said Naruse (7-2) who won his sixth straight start. “Because this is a crucial time for us, I hoped to give the bullpen some rest if I could.”
“Much of that (streak) is due to my teammates scoring early and giving me breathing room.”
Naruse, who allowed two runs in 8-2/3 innings on May 26 to snap Yomiuri’s 13-game unbeaten streak, improved on that effort by going the distance for the second straight start.
D.J. Houlton (4-5) started for the hosts and allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings. He gave up just four hits and walked one, but Lotte loaded the bases after two were gone in the first and a run scored on a passed ball.
The Marines got a big insurance run when Shoitsu Omatsu opened the second inning with his first homer since April 6.
Naruse came within an out of his second straight shutout but his bid was thwarted in the ninth. Hisayoshi Chono singled with one out and scored on Hayato Sakamoto’s two-out double.
Shuichi Murata, who had singled in the winning run for Yomiuri on Saturday, drove one foul deep down the line in left, but got himself out by swinging at a ball well out of the zone for the final out.
“I don’t have a lot of good memories of Tokyo dome. But I have studied how I might better avoid home runs here,” Naruse said.
Hawks 2, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, three Softbank pitchers combined to three-hit Hanshin, with Shota Oba (1-0) allowing a hit in a nine-strikeout effort over six scoreless innings to outduel Randy Messenger (3-5).
Messenger scattered eight hits in eight innings, while striking out eight and walking none. Nobuhiro Matsuda tripled with one out in the second and scored the opening run on Wily Mo Pena’s single. Toru Hosokawa plated an insurance run for the Hawks in the sixth.
Carp 5, Buffaloes 2
At Mazda Stadium, Bryan Bullington (3-6) allowed four hits and a walk over seven innings to win for the first time since May 2 and Kam Mickolio worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Orix’s Bobby Scales gave starter Hayato Terahara (2-4) the lead with a two-run double in the sixth before Hiroshima’s rally, featuring Tomonori Maeda’s tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the seventh. Shota Dobayashi drove in four runs with a pair of two-run singles.
Lions 4, Swallows 2, 10 innings
At Jingu Stadium, Takeya Nakamura drove in three runs for Seibu, including a two-run homer off Yakult reliever Tony Barnette (1-1) in the 10th as the Lions moved out of the Pacific League cellar.
Kazuhisa Makita (4-5) started for the Lions and allowed two runs in nine innings, while Randy Williams survived a two-on, two-out jam in the 10th to record his third save.
BayStars 6, Eagles 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Tatsuhiko Kinjo had a game-tying RBI single with one out in the eighth inning and Kazuya Fujita followed with a single for the lead as DeNa snapped a three-game losing skid with a come-from-behind win over Rakuten.
Kenjiro Tsuruoka keyed the five-run eighth with a two-run triple. Hitoshi Fujie (1-0) won in relief. Jim Heuser (1-1) took the loss for Rakuten, which dropped its third in a row.
Fighters 1, Dragons 1, tie, 9 innings
At Nagoya Dome, Hirokazu Ibata had a bases-loaded RBI grounder to tie it 1-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Chunichi had to settle for a tie in nine innings.
Nippon Ham’s Yang Dai-kang hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead in the seventh.