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Carp ace Maeda shines in victory over surging BayStars

Kyodo

Kenta Maeda (9-5) allowed two runs in eight innings on Wednesday to win his third straight start as the Hiroshima Carp humbled the Yokohama BayStars 11-3.

The Carp ace snuffed out a BayStars rally in the fourth, when he got Central League RBI leader Tony Blanco to ground into an inning-ending double play that kept the game scoreless. The Carp gave him the lead in the home half of the inning and Maeda, Japan’s pitching star in this year’s World Baseball Classic, never looked back. The BayStars entered the game having won four straight.

The 25-year-old right-hander gave up five hits, plunked two batters, and struck out five, while his teammates opened the scoring in the fourth against BayStars ace Daisuke Miura (7-8) on Takahiro Iwamoto’s two-run homer.

Kila Ka’aihue singled in another run in the fifth. The BayStars got on the board on a Noriharu Yamazaki homer in the top of the sixth, but the Carp turned out the lights in the bottom of the inning.

Yoshihiro Maru highlighted Hiroshima’s eight-run sixth with his eighth homer of the season, a three-run shot off Miura. Eishin Soyogi followed with a solo shot off reliever Kazumasa Kikuchi.

With the game shaping up like a pitchers’ duel, Yokohama captain Takehiro Ishikawa opened the fourth with an infield single and was sacrificed to second. Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch for a CL-high 11th time this season, bringing up Blanco, whose .333 batting average and 30 homers are both second in the league, while his 96 RBIs are tops in the CL.

Maeda attacked Blanco with his fastball, but got him out on the eighth pitch with his trademark slider, getting the big right-handed hitter to ground into a double play.

“I was bringing it in that situation, and I pumped my fist without thinking about it,” Maeda said. “I got exactly what I needed.”

Dragons 1, Tigers 0

At Hyogo’s Koshien Stadium, 20-year-old Chunichi right-hander Kentaro Nishikawa (1-1) allowed one hit in seven innings to earn his first career win and Hitoki Iwase completed the three-hit shutout for his 22nd save.

Tigers lefty Minoru Iwata (1-4) allowed just two hits in eight innings, but the first one, Matt Clark’s 14th home run of the season, proved fatal. Chunichi’s win snapped a four-game losing streak.

Giants 6, Swallows 3

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 2, Eagles 2 (5)

At Akita’s Komachi Stadium, former Milwaukee Brewer Casey McGehee’s 20th home run, a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth off Seibu right-hander Ken Togame, tied a game that was eventually ended after five innings due to rain.

The Eagles wasted a two-on, one-out chance in the first inning, when Andruw Jones and McGehee both went down swinging. In the fourth, however, Jones opened with a single and McGehee tied it for the Eagles who had won their previous four games.

Hawks 3, Buffaloes 1

Marines 6, Fighters 1