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Utsumi hits top gear as Giants edge BayStars

Kyodo

Giants ace Tetsuya Utsumi pitched what he called his best game of the season on Sunday, going nine scoreless innings and earning the win as Yomiuri defeated the Yokohama BayStars 1-0 in 10 innings.

The Giants were forced to work overtime for their second straight win at Hard Off Eco Stadium thanks to a sterling effort from rookie right-hander Kazuki Mishima, who held the Central League leaders in check for eight innings in his second pro start.

With two outs in the 10th against Yokohama’s third pitcher, Jorge Sosa (1-1), speedster Tetsuya Matsumoto singled and scored from first on Hayato Sakamoto’s double to the gap in left-center.

“All I could do at that point was cheer,” said Utsumi (4-0), who threw 139 pitches. “I believe that was my best game of the year. My control was good, I could get ahead in counts and get them to go after my pitches.”

Sunday’s games were the last before the start of interleague play on Tuesday.

“I’m in top form right now, firing on all cylinders and ready for interleague,” said Utsumi, who gave up five hits and a walk, while striking out five.

The BayStars, who mounted furious comebacks in each of the past two games and beat Kentaro Nishimura on Friday, could only manage two flyouts to the warning track against the right-hander, who recorded his 13th save.

Mishima, who allowed four runs in four innings on May 5 in his first pro start, pitched out of a pair of bases-loaded jams. The BayStars’ second-round draft pick last autumn held the Giants at bay with excellent movement on his fastball and a nifty slider. The 23-year-old allowed five hits and four walks, while striking out seven in a 140-pitch effort.

Carp 11, Dragons 6

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima knocked out Chunichi with the help of grand slams from Yoshihiro Maru and Ryosuke Kikuchi as the Carp set a season-high for runs scored.

Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Maru put the Carp ahead with a pinch-hit slam, while Kikuchi went deep in the sixth. Dragons catcher Motonobu Tanishige, who went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, became the third player in Japan to reach 1,000 hits with two different teams. Tanishige also had 1,000 hits with the BayStars.

Tigers 4, Swallows 2

At Botchan Stadium, Hanshin’s Matt Murton tied the game 1-1 in the eighth inning with an RBI single, and Takahiro Arai capped the inning with a two-run home run as the Tigers won their sixth straight.

The Swallows wasted seven scoreless innings from lefty Ryosuke Yagi, who scattered seven hits and three walks to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Marines 5, Eagles 4

At QVC Marine Field, Toshiaki Imae’s two-run, ninth-inning double off Tohoku Rakuten closer Koji Aoyama (0-1) overturned a one-run deficit and lifted Chiba Lotte to a 5-4 sayonara win, ending the Golden Eagles’ six-game winning streak.

The Eagles, who came from behind to beat Marines closer Naoya Masuda in the ninth on Friday, broke a 3-3 tie against the right-hander in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Motohiro Shima. But Masuda (1-1) wound up the winning pitcher, when Imae doubled with two outs and the bases loaded.

Hawks 5, Lions 2

At Kumamoto, Yuki Yoshimura broke a 2-2, seventh-inning tie with his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot, as Fukuoka Softbank came from behind to hand Seibu its season-worst fourth straight defeat.

Trailing 2-0, the host Hawks halved the Lions’ lead in the third on a sacrifice fly by Nobuhiro Matsuda, and tied it in the fourth on an RBI single by Yuya Hasegawa. Bryan Falkenborg closed out the game in the ninth to record his eighth save.

Buffaloes 3, Fighters 2

At Kyocera Dome, Lee Dae Ho’s RBI single plated the game’s first run in a five-hit, three-run first inning, and Orix held on to defeat Hokkaido Nippon Ham and win four straight games for the first time this season.

Yuki Nishi (3-2) allowed two runs in 6⅔ innings to earn the victory, while Yoshihisa Hirano saved his sixth game. Fighters lefty Masaru Takeda (1-2) allowed seven hits and three walks over six innings to take the loss.