Dragons punish Sawamura, Giants

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Kazuhiro Wada and Masaaki Koike both homered, Junki Ito pitched a shutout into the eighth inning and the Chunichi Dragons took the rubber in a three-game set against the Yomiuri Giants with a 6-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Yomiuri rookie starter Hirokazu Sawamura was shaky right out of the gate, his control issues getting the better of him and unsettling a mostly partisan crowd of 40,323 at Tokyo Dome.

The hard-throwing right-hander got a quick first out to start the game, only to proceed to walk Tatsuro Iwasaki and hit Masahiko Morino with a pitch, setting the stage for Wada to put the Dragons on the board in the early going.

Wada, the 2010 Central League MVP, worked the count full and drilled a shot just inside the left-field foul pole for a 3-0 lead.

“The pitch came a little too high over the plate. I think Sawamura wasn’t really himself today. He was definitely having some trouble out there,” Wada said. “I wanted to give Junki as much support as I could.”

Chunichi did more damage in the fifth.

Ryosuke Hirata beat out a two-out, infield single and Sawamura fell behind in the count 3-1 to Koike before the first baseman went deep over the left-center wall to make it 5-0.

“Junki was really going all out for us. I just wanted to add on as many runs as possible,” said Koike.

Yomiuri’s first chance came in the bottom of the fifth when Shinnosuke Abe hit a line drive into center with two outs and Ito walked Michihiro Ogasawara, placing runners at first and second. But Ryota Wakiya grounded out to first to end the threat.

Sawamura (4-6) allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings, walking four with four strikeouts. Yomiuri reliever Yasunari Takagi issued a bases-loaded walk to Koike in the sixth for another run.

Swallows 7, Carp 3

At Mazda Stadium, Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi (4-4) limited the damage to three runs in five innings and four relievers held Hiroshima scoreless the rest of the way as CL leader Tokyo Yakult defeated Hiroshima.

Tigers 10, BayStars 0

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin batted around in a six-run first inning, Matt Murton belted a three-run homer in the sixth and Atsushi Nomi tossed eight shutout frames in a rout of Yokohama.


Fighters 5, Lions 2

At Seibu Dome, Bobby Keppel went six innings of two-run ball, Sho Nakata and Kenshi Sugiya had a pair of key two-run doubles and Hokkaido Nippon Ham completed a three-game sweep of Seibu to move into a tie for first.

Buffaloes 2, Hawks 1

At Kyocera Dome, Mike Hessman hit a game-tying single in the ninth inning and pinch-hitter Hisao Arakane clinched it with a walk-off single in Orix’s three-game sweep of Softbank.

Mamoru Kishida (3-3) won in relief. Softbank starter Tadashi Settsu (7-4) was charged with the loss.

Eagles 5, Marines 1

At Kleenex Stadium, Randy Ruiz opened the scoring with a two-run single in the first inning and Ryo Hijirisawa added a two-run double to key a three-run fifth as Rakuten downed Chiba Lotte to move out of last place.