Yomiuri Giants rookie Tomoyuki Sugano was in destruction mode again Saturday, yielding just one run over eight electrifying innings in a 3-1 victory against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
The 23-year-old right-hander got 10 strikeouts and walked none, scattering just three singles at Tokyo Dome to improve 2-0 on the season. Kentaro Nishimura closed out the ninth for his fifth save.
“I think my perspective has gotten broader in games,” said Sugano. “(Catcher Shinnosuke) Abe-san also knows how to lead to bring out the best aspects of my pitching.”
Sugano, who is the nephew of Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, got some help from Jose Lopez who drove in two runs and homered in his second straight game. Yomiuri captain Shinnosuke Abe had an RBI single for the other run.
Lopez opened the scoring with his RBI groundout in the fourth and Abe singled to left with one out and a runner on second to make it 2-0 in the seventh. Lastings Milledge had a sac fly in the top of the eighth, but Lopez led off the bottom half with his fifth home run of the season.
Masanori Ishikawa (1-1) gave up two runs — one unearned — in 6 1/3 innings in taking the loss for the Swallows, who dropped their third consecutive game.
Carp 6, Dragons 1
At Nagoya Dome, Kenta Maeda threw eight shutout innings and helped his own cause with a run-scoring triple, Jun Hirose homered and went 2-for-4, and Hiroshima routed Chunichi.
Maeda (2-0) struck out six, gave up two hits and walked one. Yudai Ono (0-3) took the loss.
Hirose opened the scoring with an RBI double in a two-run first and led off the fifth with a blast to left. Maeda tripled in the eighth to make it 5-0 before Yoshihiro Maru’s RBI double extended the lead.
BayStars 6, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, Yokohama exploded for six runs in the opening frame, featuring Hitoshi Tamura’s RBI single and a Kenjiro Tsuruoka run-scoring double, on the way to beating Hanshin, which made four errors.
Shugo Fujii (1-0) limited the damage to one run and five hits in five innings of work.
Minoru Iwata (0-3) took the loss for the Tigers, who were held to five hits.
Hawks 8, Marines 2
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Fukuoka Softbank had three consecutive RBI singles in a five-run third, featuring a Yuki Yanagida run-scoring double en route to a romp over submarine hurler Shunsuke Watanabe (0-2) and Chiba Lotte.
Hiroki Yamada (2-1) surrendered just two runs in five-plus innings, despite allowing eight hits.
After the Hawks went up 5-0, Yuya Hasegawa hit a solo homer in fourth and went 3-for-5 on the day.
Buffaloes 8, Fighters 2
At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Yuki Nishi racked up 11 strikeouts and allowed just two runs over the distance, and Orix capitalized on Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s five errors in a rout.
Mitsutaka Goto had a tiebreaking RBI single in the fourth. After rookie Shohei Otani’s RBI single opened the scoring in the second, the Fighters fell flat and were held to one hit after the fifth.
The Buffaloes’ Yoshio Itoi went 4-for-5 against his former team.
Lions 6, Eagles 0
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, lefty Yusei Kikuchi pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Takumi Kuriyama went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Seibu blanked Tohoku Rakuten.
Kikuchi (2-0), who had no walks, came roaring out the gate, retiring the first 13 batters he faced before allowing a one-out single by Akihisa Makida in the fifth.
Kuriyama had an RBI single against Brandon Duckworth (1-1) in the first and added an RBI double in the fifth.
Otani injures ankle
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters No. 1 draft pick Shohei Otani sustained an ankle sprain while playing in right field in a game against the Orix Buffaloes on Saturday afternoon.
Otani hurt his ankle in the second inning at Hotto Motto Field and remained on the bench from the third. According to the team, Otani was giving chase to a fly ball in right-field foul territory when he twisted his ankle in an uneven area of the grass.
The highly touted rookie underwent an examination later at a Kobe hospital and was diagnosed with a light sprain but no fracture.
Otani is scheduled to make his second start pitching for the team’s farmhand next weekend, but Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama was not sure if he will be ready.
“There is some swelling. It’s not the same as when a fielder sprains his ankle and bears the pain. I have to think about him. We will see how he is doing tomorrow,” said Kuriyama.
Otani made his first start in four games as a position player and drove in the opening run on a single to right in his first at-bat in the top of the second.