HIROSHIMA – Rookie southpaw Haruhiro Hamaguchi tossed seven solid innings as the Yokohama BayStars defeated the Hiroshima Carp 6-2 on Thursday to pick up their first win in the final stage of the Central League Climax Series.
On offense, CL batting leader Toshiro Miyazaki went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and pinch hitter Tomo Otosaka drove in two runs to ignite the third-place team’s revenge against the Carp, who now have a 2-1 lead in the six-game stage, including the one-win advantage as league champion.
A day after a frustrating loss in Game 1 that was called after five innings due to rain, the 22-year-old Hamaguchi (1-0) struck out six and gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk in his 128-pitch effort at Mazda Stadium.
The BayStars scored first as Miyazaki drove home two runs with two outs in the third.
The Carp got one back an inning later on second-year infielder Ryoma Nishikawa’s RBI single, but Otosaka widened the BayStars’ lead in the fifth to make it 4-1.
After both teams added one run each in the sixth, Miyazaki capped the scoring with a solo shot in the ninth.
Spencer Patton issued two walks but retired the side in the eighth and closer Yasuaki Yamasaki tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the win before 31,165 spectators.
Hiroshima starter Yusuke Nomura (0-1) yielded four runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings to take the loss.
“This was a game we could not lose, so I prepared for today and went on the mound with the intention to give 100 percent of what I have,” Hamaguchi said after making his first postseason start. “There were some nerves, but I was confident and ready.”
He thanked his teammates for the run support, which he said allowed him to concentrate on facing one batter at a time.
Yokohama, which also finished third in the CL last season and faced Hiroshima in the Climax Series Final Stage but lost after managing to win just one game, is hoping to do better this time.
“I wasn’t here to experience it last year, but I can feel the frustration looking at my teammates who were here and I came in with the same feeling of wanting to get back at them,” Hamaguchi said of the Carp.
Eagles 2, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, catcher Motohiro Shima doubled home the winning run in the seventh as Tohoku Rakuten edged Fukuoka SoftBank to claim its second straight win in the final stage of the PL Climax Series.
The Eagles, the third-place finisher, have a 2-1 lead over the Hawks, the league champions who have yet to win a game in the postseason.
Rakuten got on the scoreboard in the first due to an error, and Seiichi Uchikawa hit a solo homer for the second straight night in the fourth to tie the game. But captain Shima put the visitors ahead again three innings later with his RBI double.
Eagles starter Wataru Karashima held the Hawks to one run on four hits and a walk over 5-1/3 innings but did not figure in the decision.
Sung Chia-hao (1-0), who picked up a win in relief in the Climax Serie First Stage against the Seibu Lions, got his second postseason win after getting the last two outs in the sixth, and three more relievers held SoftBank scoreless.
“I went to bat thinking I had to help out Karashima and the relievers who were working hard to get each out,” Shima said. “We still have tough battles ahead, so we will maintain our focus and continue fighting tomorrow on.”