BayStars hand Giants first loss of season


Rookie right-hander Toshiki Sakurai blew a three-run lead and the Yomiuri Giants suffered their first loss of the season as the Yokohama BayStars came from behind to win 6-3 in the Central League on Wednesday.

Sakurai (0-1), the No. 1 draft pick last October, had one bright spot in his difficult evening when he hit a sacrifice fly for Yomiuri’s third run in the fifth off Yokohama’s Venezuelan Guillermo Moscoso (1-0). But the right-hander, who allowed a hit in each of the previous four innings, allowed five in the bottom of the inning and was knocked out of the game as the BayStars tied.

With one out, Moscoso singled and Hiroyuki Shirasaki doubled before both were driven home by Sho Aranami’s single. Sakurai failed to regroup and allowed two more singles to load the bases before he hit Jamie Romak with his 83rd pitch and got the hook.

Reliever Chiaki Tone struck out his first batter but could not turn the tide, also hitting Toshiro Miyazaki with a pitch to hand the BayStars, who went onto snap their three-game losing skid, their fourth run at Yokohama Stadium.

“We were working very hard to get the win. In the last couple of games we didn’t get the result, but finally today we got the result,” Moscoso said. “It’s the first win of many.”

Soichiro Tateoka handed the Giants, who had won their first four games of the season, the lead in the fourth with his second home run in two games, a leadoff solo homer off Moscoso. With one out, Garrett Jones also went deep for his third in as many games to double the lead.

Shuichi Murata singled off Moscoso to open the fifth before Sakurai plated him with two outs, but the 23-year-old could not keep his nerve on the mound. Sakurai allowed four runs on nine hits, one walk and one hit batsman and struck out five over 4⅓ innings.

Moscoso got his first win after allowing three runs on four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out five.

Yokohama added two more runs in the eighth. With runners on second and third and one out, Yomiuri second baseman Luis Cruz caught a grounder and threw to home plate but catcher Seiji Kobayashi failed to tag Jose Lopez, before another came home from third when Kobayashi tried to pick off a runner stealing second.

Yasuaki Yamasaki, who marked a record 37 saves as a rookie last season, got his second of the year.

Carp 11, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Hiroshima rookie right-hander Hiroki Yokoyama (1-0) held Chunichi to three runs in 7⅔ innings on his debut. Soichiro Amaya’s RBI double off Tatsuro Hamada (0-1) opened the scoring in the second.

Swallows 8, Tigers 4

At Jingu Stadium, Atsushi Ugumori broke a 1-1 deadlock with a solo homer off Hanshin’s Minoru Iwata (0-1) in the fourth as champion Tokyo Yakult claimed its first win of the season. Yoshihisa Naruse (1-0) allowed a run in six innings.


Eagles 5, Marines 0

At QVC Marine Field, Tohoku Rakuten’s Manabu Mima (1-0) threw his first career shutout and allowed just three hits in 96 pitches against Chiba Lotte. Jonny Gomes opened the scoring in the fourth inning with an RBI double off Kota Futaki (0-1).

Hawks 5, Lions 4

At Yafuoku Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda’s RBI single in the fourth off Seibu’s Ryoma Nogami (0-1) made it 2-1 as Fukuoka SoftBank led for good. Kodai Senga (1-0) allowed four runs in 6⅔ innings but got his first win.

Buffaloes at Fighters — late