Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed a two-hitter and struck out 14 batters over the distance Sunday as the Seibu Lions downed the Pacific League-leading Daiei Hawks 9-0.
Matsuzaka picked up his second complete-game shutout of the season and improved to 16-6 after holding the Hawks scoreless at Fukuoka Dome.
With the victory, Seibu pulled to within 3 1/2 games of Daiei in the standings.
“Obviously, I’m satisfied with the way I pitched today,” said Matsuzaka. “I just tried to pitch as aggressively as possible and go after the hitters.”
Alex Cabrera belted a three-run homer for the Lions in the top of the sixth inning to give Seibu a 4-0 lead. With 41 homers, Cabrera now trails Kintetsu Buffaloes outfielder Tuffy Rhodes by three in the home run race.
Catcher Kosuke Noda drove in a pair of runs as Seibu added five runs in the top of the ninth to give Matsuzaka plenty of support.
Daiei’s magic number to clinch the pennant remained stalled at 16.
BlueWave 4, Buffaloes 3
At Kobe’s Yahoo BB Stadium, Mitsutaka Goto drove in a pair of runs with a vital triple in the bottom of the ninth as Orix rallied for three runs on its way to a walkoff victory over Kintetsu.
Eiji Mizoguchi and Masahiro Abe both hit solo homers to give the Buffaloes a 3-1 lead, but Kintetsu reliever Hiroshi Takamura gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Marines 8, Fighters 2
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Tomoya Satozaki drove in three runs with a clutch bases-loaded single in the fourth inning to lead Chiba Lotte over Nippon Ham.
Yasuhiko Yabuta picked up the win after holding the Fighters to two runs on three hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Tigers 8, BayStars 3
At Koshien Stadium, George Arias connected for a grand slam off Yuji Yoshima (2-10) to bolster a 13-hit onslaught as front-running Hanshin outslugged Yokohama and matched a franchise record with its 80th victory this season.
Atsushi Kataoka sparked the attack in the fifth with a one-out RBI single and Arias followed with the bases loaded, launching a ball into the left-field seats to make it 5-0. Shinobu Fukuhara (2-0) did not allow a runner past second in picking up the win as Hanshin reduced its magic number to 5. The Tigers can clinch the CL pennant as early as Thursday.
Swallows 5, Dragons 3
At Nagoya Dome, Shinya Miyamoto produced three of the team’s 13 hits and 1999 top draft pick Katsutoshi Ishido (1-0) earned a win in the first mound appearance of his career as Yakult defeated Chunichi for its fourth straight victory.
Carp 4, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Itsuki Asai homered and Koichi Ogata and Kenjiro Nomura had back-to-back doubles to drive home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, lifting Hiroshima to a victory over Yomiuri.
Takaya Kawauchi (2-0) pitched five-hit ball over eight solid frames while Shinji Sasaoka posted his first save in two years with an inning of work in the ninth.
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