Baseball / MLB

Tigers sweep Giants in big win


Shinjiro Hiyama hit a two-run home run and George Arias delivered a solo blast in a seven-run eighth inning as the Hanshin Tigers overpowered the slumping Yomiuri Giants 11-0 in the Central League on Thursday.

Backed by a 19-hit attack, Hanshin leapfrogged Yomiuri into second place behind the Chunichi Dragons in the CL standings.

Kentaro Sekimoto hit a run-scoring single in the first and a sacrifice fly in a two-run third as the Tigers took a 3-0 lead after three innings at Koshien Stadium.

Akihiro Yano and Makoto Imaoka chipped in with RBI singles and Tomoaki Kanemoto drove in two runs to help send the Giants to their fourth straight defeat and 10th loss in 11 games.

Shinobu Fukuhara (8-5) pitched his first shutout in four years on a four-hit effort with six strikeouts and no walks. Lefty Masanori Hayashi (3-5) took the loss for Yomiuri.

BlueWave roll

KOBE (Kyodo) Hidemitsu Saito connected for a three-run homer to cap a four-run first inning and Arihito Muramatsu hit a solo shot as the last-place Orix BlueWave romped 10-1 over the front-running Daiei Hawks in the Pacific League on Thursday.

Orix to own 80 percent

Orix Corp. will hold an 80 percent interest in the baseball club due to be created through the planned merger between the Orix BlueWave and the Kintetsu Buffaloes and the new team is likely to be called the Orix Buffaloes, Pacific League officials said Thursday.

The league’s executive board agreed on the plan, which calls for consumer finance company Orix to assume heavier financial burdens while allowing railway operator Kintetsu Corp. to own a 20 percent stake and keep part of the name of its baseball team.

Members of the board also decided in Thursday’s extraordinary meeting that the merged club will be allowed to sign 28 players in the off-season preferentially from the combined rosters of the BlueWave and Buffaloes.

The name of the new team is scheduled to be decided after this fall’s Japan Series. The league officials said “Orix Buffaloes” tops the shortlist at the moment on strong demand from Kintetsu.