Tanaka stellar in spring debut


Sawamura Award winner Masahiro Tanaka threw three shutout innings Saturday, while opposing pitcher Yuki Kuniyoshi struggled, despite holding batters scoreless over four frames, in the Yokohama DeNA BayStars’ 1-0 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Tanaka, who led league with 19 wins, a 1.27 ERA and a .792 winning percentage in 2011 and was pitching in his first game of the preseason, allowed one hit, walked none and struck out three after taking the reins in the sixth inning.

“I was able to test out my repertoire, and have a good result,” said Tanaka, Eagles manager Senichi Hoshino’s leading candidate to start Opening Day. “Some of the pitches were down the middle, so I need to work on my control,” he said.

BayStars shortstop substitute Takayuki Kajitani had a leadoff double in the ninth inning and scored with two outs on Koji Aoyama’s wild pitch.

In other games it was: the Chunichi Dragons 3, the Hiroshima Carp 2; the Orix Buffaloes 4, the Hanshin Tigers 0; the Chiba Lotte Marines 1, the Softbank Hawks 1; and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4.