Kazuyuki Hoashi essentially replaced Toshiya Sugiuchi last season when he joined the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and Sugiuchi left to suit up for the Yomiuri Giants.
After a frustrating first season in Fukuoka, Hoashi turned in his best performance in a Hawks uniform on Tuesday with Sugiuchi watching from the opposing dugout.
Hoashi threw six scoreless innings and Yuki Yoshimura put the game on ice with a three-run home run in the seventh to help the Hawks earn a 5-0 win over Sugiuchi and the Giants in front of a crowd of 45,231 at Tokyo Dome.
“Hoashi was able to pitch tonight the way we know he can,” Hawks manager Koji Akiyama said. “I hope he will pitch like this next time.”
Injuries helped limit Hoashi to one appearance with Softbank in 2012, while Sugiuchi was 12-4 for a Giants team that captured both the Central League pennant and Japan Series title.
The game was the first interleague meeting between the left-handers, who previously squared off while Hoashi was with the Seibu Lions and Sugiuchi was the ace of the Hawks’ staff.
Hoashi got the better of the matchup, allowing three hits, striking out one and walking one to improve to 3-1.
“I was able to get into a good rhythm and it got better as the game went along,” Hoashi said.
Sugiuchi (3-3) allowed five runs on seven hits. He struck out 11 and walked three.
“I don’t think Sugiuchi pitched badly, but we weren’t able to score, and the three-run homer by Yoshimura did us in,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said.
Yoshimura’s home run was his fifth of the season and the highlight of his 1-for-4 night at the plate.
Bryan LaHair drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Yuya Hasegawa tacked on another with a single in the sixth.
“It’s always good to get a win on the road,” LaHair said. “We played good, Yoshimura had a big home run for us tonight, and Hoashi pitched a great game. It was a good team effort.”
The win pulled the Hawks even at 24-24 on the year.
“It will be good if we can win again tomorrow and go over .500,” Hoashi said. “Our goal is to win a championship.”
Yomiuri shortstop Hayato Sakamoto was responsible for all three hits against Hoashi, recording a double and two singles. Hisayoshi Chono had the Giants’ only other hit, a single against reliever Kodai Senga in the eighth.
Yomiuri was shut out for the fifth time this season, three of which have come with Sugiuchi as the starting pitcher. Softbank is the only team other than the Hanshin Tigers to hold the Giants scoreless this season.
“It’s always a sweet win when we beat the Giants, and especially so when we shut them out,” Akiyama said.
Marines rally past Dragons
Daichi Suzuki hit a go-ahead two-run triple in the sixth inning as the PL-leading Chiba Lotte Marines came from behind to beat the Chunichi Dragons 3-2 on Tuesday night to win their third in a row and move 10 games above .500.
Hirokazu Ibata and Atsushi Fujii had back-to-back RBI doubles for a 2-0 lead in the second before Lotte rallied on an Ikuhiro Kiyota run-scoring single followed by Suzuki’s triple in the sixth. Left-hander Takahiro Fujioka (3-3) got the win with two scoreless innings in relief.
Shinji Tajima (1-6) was charged with the loss.
Lions 4, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Fumikazu Kimura hit a pinch-hit go-ahead blast for his career first homer in a three-run eighth, Dennis Sarfate picked up his first save since a move from Hiroshima and Seibu sent Yokohama to its third loss in a row.
Seventh-year Kimura, who started off as a pitcher but was switched to a position player last fall, led off the eighth with a drive to left-center. Koji Yamasaki and Ryan Spilborghs added RBI singles.
Yusei Kikuchi (6-1) yielded one run and three hits in seven innings. Daisuke Miura (3-4) took the loss.
Buffaloes 5, Swallows 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Aarom Baldiris and Lee Dae Ho hit consecutive homers off Kyohei Muranaka (3-4) to break a 1-all tie in the fifth and Brandon Dickson and four relievers limited the damage to two runs as Orix downed cellar dweller Yakult.
Eagles 7, Eagles 4
At Koshien Stadium, Kazuo Matsui had a tying RBI double in the ninth off Yasutomo Kubo (2-3) and pinch hitter Hiroaki Shimauchi followed with a go-ahead triple before Ryo Hijirisawa tacked on a two-run homer for insurance as Tohoku Rakuten prevailed in a seesaw battle over Hanshin.
Hijirisawa went 2-for-5 with four RBIs on the night. The Tigers, the CL’s second-place team, was denied their fourth win in a row.
Fighters at Carp — ppd.