UTSUNOMIYA, TOCHIGI PREF. – Hirokazu Sawamura scattered five hits in seven shutout innings as the Yomiuri Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Hiroshima Carp with a 1-0 win Thursday.
Sawamura (3-3) followed up his shutout of the Hanshin Tigers last week with another strong outing, striking out six and walking two in a 103-pitch effort at the Utsunomiya Kiyohara Stadium.
Scott Mathieson, the fourth Yomiuri pitcher, slammed the door in the ninth for his 23rd save.
“I’m glad I could show what I can do to the people of Tochigi,” said Sawamura, who is from the prefecture.
The two-time defending Central League champions Giants scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, when Yasuyuki Kataoka scored after Hisayoshi Chono broke up a double play that could have ended the inning.
The Carp were swept in a series for the first time this season and with the Hanshin Tigers winning on the night, they dropped to third in the CL, four games behind Yomiuri which now has a magic number of 22.
“We won three games that could have gone either way,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. “Having won three closely contested games, we want to use this as fuel to play even better.”
Hiroshima wasted a strong start from Yuya Fukui (3-3), who in six innings allowed just one earned run on three hits, three walks and a hit batsman.
Tigers 5, BayStars 3
At Koshien Stadium, Mauro Gomez hit his 23rd homer of the season and Suguru Iwasaki (4-4) allowed two earned runs in six solid innings for Hanshin, which climbed into second place by defeating Yokohama.
Dragons 5, Swallows 1
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Ryosuke Hirata’s bases-clearing double highlighted a four-run seventh inning by Chunichi as the Dragons beat Tokyo Yakult.
Hawks 2, Buffaloes 0
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka Softbank starter Shota Takeda (12-8) and four relievers combined to blank Orix, which dropped its third in four games.
Lions 4, Marines 1
At Seibu Dome, Seibu’s Ernesto Mejia hit a tiebreaking three-run home run in the eighth inning, his 28th on the year, to stop Chiba Lotte’s winning streak at three.