Lefty Gary Rath combined with Junichi Kawahara on a seven-hit shutout and Yomiuri did all its scoring on home runs as the Giants blanked the Hanshin Tigers 4-0 at Koshien Stadium on Friday for their first win against the Central League leaders this year in seven matchups.

Rath (1-0) pitched eight innings on 126 pitches, giving up six hits while fanning seven for the win.

Kawahara gave up a single to Atsushi Kataoka in the ninth but held on for his fourth save.

Yomiuri broke a 0-0 deadlock in the fourth when Kazuhiro Kiyohara nailed a solo homer off Hanshin starter Hideki Irabu (5-1). In the ninth, Toshihisa Nishi slammed a three-run homer off rookie reliever Tomoyuki Kubota for insurance.

Irabu gave up eight hits and held the Giants to one run while striking out seven over eight innings in a losing effort as Hanshin’s win streak came to a halt at four.

Swallows 2, BayStars 1

Jason Beverlin (5-1) tossed four-hit ball over eight solid innings and gave up one run for the win as Yakult edged Yokohama at Jingu Stadium.

Alex Ramirez doubled home the game-tying run in the first inning and grounded into a double play in his next at-bat, during which Yakult scored the go-ahead run.


Marines 4, Buffaloes 0

Naoyuki Shimizu pitched eight shutout innings and struck out eight, improving his ERA to a league-leading 1.17 after eight games, as Lotte beat Kintetsu at Osaka Dome.

Shimizu (6-1) issued just one walk and seven hits while receiving run support from an 11-hit offense, including catcher Tomoya Satozaki who connected for his first homer of the season — off Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) in the fifth inning.

Hawks 6, Lions 1

Hayato Terahara (4-0) held the Lions to a sole run over seven-plus innings as the 19-year-old posted his fourth win in Daiei’s triumph over Seibu at Sapporo Dome.

Bryant Nelson drove in three runs while Arihito Muramatsu and Noriyoshi Omichi had an RBI apiece to help as the Hakws claimed a share of the PL lead with Seibu and Kintetsu.

Shimoyanagi qualifies

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers southpaw Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi on Friday qualified for free agency after serving nine years on the top team roster, officials of the Central League said.

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