Giants’ Sawamura returns to form after shaky stretch


Hirokazu Sawamura (10-10) threw five shutout innings on Saturday to earn his first win since Aug. 14 as the Yomiuri Giants defeated the Yokohama BayStars 6-0 at Tokyo Dome.

Sawamura allowed one hit, a first-inning leadoff single and two walks, while striking out one batter. The Central League’s 2011 Rookie of the Year was coming off a stretch of five games in which he had allowed 19 runs in 25 2/3 innings.

“With all the great support I got from the fans, it was fun pitching,” Sawamura said.

Giants leadoff man Hisayoshi Chono had three hits to take over the league lead with 173 on the season. Chono singled in a run in the fourth and hit his 14th homer of the year in the seventh.

The BayStars’ Alex Ramirez, who needs seven hits to reach 2,000 in Japan, did not play. Yokohama has four games remaining in the season.

Carp 4, Swallows 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Shota Dobayashi hit a pair of solo homers, and Keisuke Imai (4-8) held batters to two runs over six innings as Hiroshima beat Yakult in game that was called with none out in the bottom of the ninth due to rain.

The Carp snapped a six-game winless streak against the Swallows, including one tie, for a 9-12 record with two ties against Yakult. Dobayashi hit a tiebreaking leadoff shot off Takehiko Oshimoto (4-1) in the seventh and went deep for his 14th homer of the year in the ninth.


Lions 2, Marines 1

At Seibu Dome, Chiba Lotte closer Yasuhiko Yabuta (1-6) blew a one-run, ninth-inning lead by allowing a leadoff single and issuing four walks to force across the tying and winning runs in a loss to Seibu.

Pinch hitter Chris Carter and light-hitting utility infielder Takuya Hara drew consecutive two-out, bases-loaded walks in the ninth.

Lions starter Takayuki Kishi (11-12) went the distance to win for the first time since Aug. 28.

Eagles 2, Hawks 1

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Akihisa Makida’s two-run homer in the second inning off Yang Yao-hsun (2-3) was all Tohoku Rakuten needed against third-place Fukuoka Softbank, moving the fourth-place Eagles back to .500 for the first time since July 27.

Wataru Karashima (8-5) limited the damage to one run on three hits in eight innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

Koji Aoyama worked the ninth and set a club record with his 22nd save.