NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREFECTURE – Left-hander Daiki Enokida won a pitchers’ duel against Hirokazu Sawamura, Takashi Toritani and Matt Murton drove in a run apiece, and the Hanshin Tigers blanked the Yomiuri Giants 3-0 on Thursday night.
The win gave the Tigers the rubber game in the three game-series against their archrivals after winning the opener 2-0 to snap the Giants’ unbeaten run since the start of the season at eight games and playing out a scoreless tie in 12 innings the previous night.
Toritani got his team on the scoreboard with a one-out, run-scoring single in the first inning, and Murton chipped in with a two-out RBI single to make it 2-0 in the third at Koshien Stadium.
Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Kosuke Fukudome made a superb diving catch in the fifth inning and added the final touch with an eighth-inning RBI single.
Enokida (1-1) went 7⅔ innings to notch his first career win as a starter.
He struck out six and walked two. The lefty was relieved by Shinobu Fukuhara, who inherited a jam with runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth and got Hisayoshi Chono to fly out to center to end the threat.
Sawamura (1-1) yielded two runs and seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks over seven innings in taking the loss.
Yasutomo Kubo had a 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save. The Tigers won their first series of the 2013 season, while the Giants were limited to two hits on this night and matched a franchise worst by being held scoreless in 31 consecutive innings.
Ruth ball on display
A ball signed by the late U.S. slugger Babe Ruth during his visit to Japan in 1934 will be displayed every Thursday from next week at Nichiro Building in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
Ruth (1895-1948) visited Hakodate as captain of a U.S. baseball team at the invitation of fishing firm Nichiro Gyogyo Kaisha Ltd. to play a game against a Japanese team captained by Jiro Kuji, former Nichiro Gyogyo employees said.
Nichiro Gyogyo, the predecessor of Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc., arranged the match to promote Hakodate’s reconstruction after a fire burned a third of the city earlier in the year, they said.
Kuji as well as Ruth signed the ball, which was thrown by then Hakodate Assembly President Ryosaku Tosaka in the opening pitch ceremony for the match. The U.S. team’s 5-2 win is also recorded on the ball.
At the request of an association of former Nichiro Gyogyo employees, Tosaka’s eldest son Kosaku, 80, looked for the ball at his home in Chofu, Tokyo, and donated it to the association.