SAPPORO – Hiroshi Kisanuki posted his first shutout as a member of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday in a 3-0 interleague victory over the Hanshin Tigers, who fell from the top spot in the Central League standings.
Kisanuki, a 33-year-old right-hander with his third club, allowed two hits and a walk over the distance, while striking out five, as the Pacific League tail-enders snapped Hanshin’s five-game winning streak in 2 hours, 27 minutes.
“I worked really quickly,” said Kisanuki, who was traded from Orix in January in a six-player deal. “I tried to stay out of bad counts and focused on keeping the leadoff hitters off base.”
Sho Nakata went 3-for-4 off Tigers starter Randy Messenger, who went seven-plus innings to fall to 6-3 on the season. Nakata opened the scoring with his 15th homer of the season to lead off the second.
Keiji Obiki, who came to Nippon Ham in the same trade as Kisanuki, singled in an insurance run in the seventh, and Nakata sealed it with a leadoff homer in the eighth.
Kisanuki’s shutout was his first since April 2012.
Messenger allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. The Tigers’ only threat came in the fifth, when Matt Murton led off with a double. Takahiro Arai reached on an infield single to the pitcher, whose wild throw put two men in scoring position. But Murton was caught in a rundown on a grounder to Obiki at shortstop, who then started an inning-ending double play.
“He (Kisanuki) had such a great tempo today, that it was easy to field behind him,” Obiki said.
Giants 3, Buffaloes 0
At Kyocera Dome, Hirokazu Sawamura (3-4) threw a five-hitter for his first shutout of the season as Yomiuri beat Orix and took over the CL lead. Kei Igawa (1-1) worked five innings to take the loss.
Jose Lopez set the table for the Giants to take the lead in the fourth with the first of his two doubles. After a one-out walk, a run scored on a groundout, rookie Masaki Sakaguchi singled to drive in another run with his first pro hit.
Hawks 11, Swallows 4
At Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka Softbank clinched its fourth interleague championship and its first in two years after pounding out 14 hits in a win over CL cellar dweller Tokyo Yakult. Taiwan’s Lee Do-shen hit a two-run, first-inning homer and the Hawks cruised to their sixth straight victory. The Swallows have lost five straight.
Ace Tadashi Settsu (6-3) allowed four runs in six-plus innings to earn the win as the Hawks moved to within one game of first-place Chiba Lotte in the PL standings.
Carp 5, Eagles 4
At Kleenex Stadium, Hiroshima scored four runs in the ninth to win five straight games for the first time this season. Shota Dobayashi tied it against Tohoku Rakuten closer Darryl Rasner (1-1) with a two-run double, and Yoshihiro Maru put the Carp in front with a two-run triple off Koji Aoyama.
Rakuten’s Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer in the first and rookie Takahiro Norimoto allowed a run in eight innings. The Golden Eagles loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth against right-hander Takeru Imamura, who got McGehee to hit into a double play and earned his second save.
Dragons 4, Lions 3 (11)
At Seibu Dome, Chunichi forced extra innings after Motonobu Tanishige’s pinch-hit RBI single tied it in the ninth, and two Seibu errors helped the Dragons push across the winning run in the 11th.
Tanishige became the 40th player to reach 1,000 RBIs and the oldest to achieve the milestone at 42 years, 5 months, surpassing Dragons teammate Takeshi Yamasaki, who achieved the feat with Tohoku Rakuten at the age of 40 years, 9 months.
BayStars at Marines — ppd.