Yuki Koyama threw eight shutout innings and three of his teammates drove in two runs apiece as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hiroshima Carp 6-3 at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday night.
The 23-year-old right-hander allowed five hits, while striking out four and walking one for the Central League leaders.
“We are making a run for the pennant, so I’m really happy to be able to contribute at this point in the season,” said Koyama (2-1), the Giants’ fourth pick in the 2010 draft. “I’ve had a lot of issues with my game, and I’ve been working hard to correct them. Tonight my first priority was to get the leadoff hitters out.”
Veteran slugger Michihiro Ogasawara, who has been plagued this season by a hamstring injury, returned to the active roster for the first time since June 26. He went 0-for-4 in the seventh spot, but the top of the lineup more than picked up the slack.
A first-inning leadoff double by Hisayoshi Chono off Bryan Bullington (6-13) set up the Giants’ first run, as Hayato Sakamoto’s single brought Chono home with one out. Sakamoto went 3-for-4 and doubled home another run in the seventh.
“Koyama pitched with such a great rhythm tonight. It was so easy to field behind him,” said the Giants shortstop.
Catcher and captain Shinnosuke Abe belted his 22nd home run of the season in the third, a two-run shot, and Yoshinobu Takahashi also drove in two runs.
Hiroshima broke up the shutout in the top of the ninth inning, when Brad Eldred launched a pitch from rookie Seiji Tahara off the back wall of the dome just below the roof in straight-away left field. It was Eldred’s sixth homer for the Carp. Before coming to Japan, he hit 24 in 63 games for Triple-A Toledo.
The Carp managed two more runs in the inning before rookie Kyosuke Takagi was called on to get the final out, record his first save and extend Hiroshima’s winless run against Yomiuri to eight games.
Swallows 2, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Orlando Roman (9-9) worked seven innings and two relievers worked an inning each to complete an eight-hit shutout of Hanshin. Roman walked five and hit a batter but still came out a winner.
The Tigers loaded the bases three times, but for the seventh time failed to score in a game started by Randy Messenger (7-11). The right-hander allowed a run in seven innings on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Dragons 3, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, pinch hitter Yusuke Matsui broke a 2-2 tie with two outs in the eighth inning as Chunichi defeated Yokohama as ace Kazuki Yoshimi (13-4) worked seven innings to win his eighth straight decision.
BayStars ace Daisuke Miura allowed two runs — one earned — in seven innings, and the BayStars tied it in the fourth inning on Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s two-run homer. The Yokohama bullpen, however, failed to hold the fort.
Fighters 3, Marines 2
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Hokkaido Nippon Ham improved to a season-best 11 games over .500 as Masaru Takeda (10-7) outdueled Seth Greisinger (9-8), who retired the first 12 men he faced. The 13th, Sho Nakata, belted his 20th home run to open the fifth inning and the Fighters took over first place by beating Chiba Lotte.
Three straight doubles from Yang Dai-kang, Haruki Nishikawa and Yoshio Itoi made it 3-0 in the sixth. Takeda worked seven-plus innings to reach double digits in wins for the fourth straight year.
The Marines lost a season-high ninth straight game.
Buffaloes 3, Lions 2
At Seibu Dome, Orix came from a run down in the ninth inning against Seibu closer Hideaki Wakui to beat the Lions and knock them out of first place.
Seibu starter Takayuki Kishi allowed a run in eight innings, but the Buffaloes got to Wakui (1-5) in the ninth. Bobby Scales led off with a pinch-hit single and scored the tying run on a Takahiro Okada double, while pinch hitter Yusuke Kajimoto delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Hawks 2, Eagles 1
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Fukuoka Softbank right-hander Tadashi Settsu (15-5) was solid, allowing a run on three hits over seven innings, as he took over the Japan lead in wins. The loss snapped Tohoku Rakuten’s four-game winning streak.
The Hawks got on the board in the second on an RBI single by Yuichi Honda, and made it 2-0 in the third against Manabu Mima (7-8) on Wily Mo Pena’s 20th homer.