Tigers crush four home runs, beat Giants in season’s first game at Big Egg


Staff Writer

So much for the “no-fly” ball.

Tomoaki Kanemoto, Takashi Toritanai, Takahiro Arai and Craig Brazell all homered and Atsushi Nomi threw a complete game as the Hanshin Tigers spoiled the Yomiuri Giants’ first game at Tokyo Dome this year with a 7-3 win in front of 45,049 on Tuesday.

“We played great today,” Brazell said. “We swung the bat and had great pitching. I think it all started with the pitching because Nomi was solid from the get-go.”

The new NPB ball had been the subject of much discussion over the winter, with many around Japanese baseball saying the ball wouldn’t carry as much as balls used last season and would reduce the number of home runs hit.

All that went out the window on Tuesday as six balls went over the fences at the Big Egg, including one by Giants pitcher Shun Tono.

Tono was mostly giving up homers, though, with Kanemoto going deep in the second and Toritani, Arai and Brazell hitting consecutive shots in the third.

“Tono’s a good pitcher, there’s no doubt about that,” Brazell said. “He made a few mistakes. He left some pitches out over the plate today and luckily we didn’t miss them.”

Arai finished 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Kanemoto and Toritani each drove in two runs and both finished 2-for-4. Brazell was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Hayato Sakamoto also hit a home run for the Giants, and Hisayoshi Chono drove in a run.

Nomi (2-1), who retired 11 straight at one point, allowed six hits and struck out eight to help get the Tigers back to .500 for the season.

“The middle of the lineup, including the cleanup hitter, supported me with home runs so I could relax more,” Nomi said. “And it’s good we got to .500.”

Nomi has had a long run of good fortune against the Giants. He last lost to Yomiuri on July 10, 2009, and is 8-0 in 11 starts against the Kyojin since then.

“It’s difficult to pitch a complete game victory, especially at Tokyo Dome,” Nomi said. “So I am very happy with my performance today. The defense was good, so that made my job a lot easier. . .”

Tono (1-2) took the loss for the Giants, allowing six runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.

The game was the first at Tokyo Dome since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Carp edge BayStars


Rookie Yuya Fukui (2-0) relied on a sharp slider over 6? innings of one-run ball, Yoshihiro Maru and Jun Hirose made fine defensive plays and the Hiroshima Carp edged the Yokohama BayStars 3-2 in the Central League on Tuesday.

Swallows 5, Dragons 3

At Jingu Stadium, pinch hitter Yasushi Iihara had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Norichika Aoki added insurance with a run-scoring single for Tokyo Yakult.


Hawks 3, Eagles 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Tsuyoshi Wada threw a three-hit shutout to earn his first win of the season.

Marines 10, Lions 5

At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Dome, Tadahito Iguchi drove in seven runs with a grand slam and a three-run shot in a 3-for-5 outing.

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 3 (10)

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Yu Darvish (3-1) pitched nine innings of three-run ball and Sho Nakata had a two-out, bases-clearing triple.