Houlton does it all to lead Giants past Swallows


D.J. Houlton hit his first home run as a professional and pitched seven innings to lead the Yomiuri Giants to a 9-1 win over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Saturday at Tokyo Dome.

Houlton, whose last extra-base hit was a triple for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2007, hit a solo homer in the second. The right-hander, who turns 33 on Sunday, allowed a run on eight hits and a walk, while striking out eight. He improved his record to 9-6.

His homer was the second of three by the Central League-leading Giants, who are 7-0 with one tie since their last defeat on Aug. 2.

“I got really lucky,” said Houlton of his home run. “I was just going up there swinging. I didn’t really know what I was doing. The home run was a good birthday present for myself.”

Shinnosuke Abe belted a two-run homer in the first inning off Swallows starter Shohei Tateyama (6-8), who surrendered three runs in the inning on two walks and four hits. Houlton led off the second with his homer, and Yoshinobu Takahashi hit a grand slam in the fifth to put the game away.

“The offense scored a lot of runs, so I was just able to throw strikes and not worry about getting hit,” Houlton said.

Hawks 2, Eagles 1

At Yahoo Dome, Fukuoka Softbank southpaw Kenji Otonari (10-4) allowed a run on two hits in seven innings to reach double digits in wins for the first time in four years and the Hawks came from behind to halt Tohoku Rakuten’s winning streak at three.

Softbank, which had just four hits, tied it in the bottom of the fifth on a hit batsman, a single and a throwing error. Yuichi Honda set up the go-ahead run in the sixth with a leadoff walk and a stolen base. Seiichi Uchikawa singled him home off unlucky loser Kelvin Jimenez (5-9).

BayStars 9, Dragons 2

Carp 2, Tigers 1

Fighters 3, Lions 0

Buffaloes 4, Marines 0