TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – Ken Togame yielded one run and three hits over nine innings and got a boost from his teammates as the Seibu Lions romped 5-1 over the Yomiuri Giants in interleague play on Sunday.
The Lions played their hearts out in the matinee in dedication to farm team director and former catcher and coach Katsuya Soma, who died earlier the same morning at the age of 50. Yomiuri lost five in a row for the first time this season and slipped into second place in the Central League.
“Today winning was very important to us,” said Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe after Seibu won its fifth straight. “I am very satisfied with how our team played. Everyone rallied together for the win.”
Seibu struck with three hits to take a 2-0 lead in the third and extended their advantage after capitalizing on two fielding errors in the fifth at Seibu Dome.
Togame (5-2) was rarely in trouble in a matchup against lefty Tetsuya Utsumi. The Lions starter escaped a bases-loaded jam with minimum damage in the eighth, thanks in part to left fielder Takumi Kuriyama, who made a fabulous running catch near the wall to kill the Giants’ rally.
The right-hander, who struck out four, walked three and hit a batter, retired the first seven batters he faced before allowing Jose Lopez’s one-out single in the third. Utsumi (4-2) was charged with three runs — two earned — in 4⅔ innings of the loss.
“I really wanted to win for us today. My fastball wasn’t that good, but I was locating my breaking balls,” said Togame.
Masato Kumashiro led off the third with a single and scored from third on Kuriyama’s two-out single. Esteban German, who went 3-for-4, added a run-scoring single in the same frame after Utsumi walked Hideto Asamura, who was 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the fifth.
Shogo Akiyama made it all the way to second base leading off the fifth on consecutive errors by first baseman Lopez and second baseman Takayuki Terauchi. Asamura drove him home from third two outs later on his single to center.
The Giants looked game for a rally in the eighth, when Lopez and pitcher-hitter Soichiro Tateoka had back-to-back singles and pinch hitter Michihiro Ogasawara was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.
Hisayoshi Chono then hit an RBI grounder to give Yomiuri a run, but Kuriyama saved the day when he chased down Shinnosuke Abe’s fly near the wall with runners at the corners to end the threat.
“I got nervous in that inning when I let those runners on. Kuriyama-san really saved me there,” said Togame.
Asamura led off the bottom half with triple and came around on German’s single to left. Lions catcher Ginjiro Sumitani capped the scoring the same inning with an RBI single to center.
Buffaloes 7, Carp 1
At Kyocera Dome, Yuki Nishi (5-2) threw a five-hitter with eight strike outs and no walks over the distance and got plenty of run support as Orix routed the Carp.
Aarom Baldiris went 3-for-4, with a two-run single and three RBIs. Lee Dae Ho was 3-for-5 with an RBI single and Hikaru Ito contributed a two-run triple to the 11-hit attack. Yusuke Nomura (2-3) took the loss for Hiroshima, which dropped its fourth in a row.
Tigers 4, Hawks 3
At Yahoo Dome, Hanshin rallied for three runs to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the seventh inning en route to beating Fukuoka Softbank and taking over first place in the CL.
Rookie right-hander Shintaro Fujinami gave up two runs in 5⅓ innings and struck out seven, and Kazuya Tsutsui (3-0) won in relief. Yuya Ando picked up his first save in nine years. Softbank saw its winning streak snapped at five.
Swallows 5, Marines 3
At QVC Marine Field, Tetsuto Yamada hit a tiebreaking two-run triple off Takahiro Fujioka (3-4) in the eighth inning and Tokyo Yakult held off Pacific League leader Chiba Lotte, which saw its winning streak snapped at six games.
Chris Leroux pitched three-run ball over 6⅔ innings in his Japan debut before Takehiko Oshimoto (2-3) won in relief. Leroux tied a Central League record with three balks in a game, and two in one inning.
Eagles 1, Dragons 0
At Kleenex Stadium, five Tohoku Rakuten pitchers completed a five-hit shutout of Chunichi, with Yasunori Kikuchi (1-4) going 5⅓ innings to earn the win and Darryl Rasner working the ninth for his fifth save.
Kazuo Matsui led off the bottom of the first with a single off 48-year-old southpaw Masahiro Yamamoto (2-1), was sacrificed to second and scored the game’s only run on Ryo Hijirisawa’s ground single. The Dragons fell to 10 games under .500 for the first time since 2001.
BayStars 11, Fighters 3
At Victor Starffin Stadium in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, rookie right-hander Kazuki Mishima (1-2) went eight innings for the fourth straight game, but Yokohama’s second draft pick last autumn finally earned his first pro victory.
BayStars third baseman Toshiro Miyazaki, the club’s sixth-round pick made a splash in his first start. The 25-year-old doubled in two runs in the first inning, and went 3-for-5 with a homer.
Hiroshima Carp ace Kenta Maeda was deactivated on Sunday for the second time this season a day after suffering from back trouble in the worst start of his career.
Maeda, who was named to the 2013 World Baseball Classic’s all-tournament team, allowed six runs in one-third of an inning in Saturday’s 10-1 interleague defeat to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and left complaining of discomfort in his ribs.
The right-hander was not examined at a hospital, but rather dispatched to the club’s minor league facility, where his condition will be monitored. Maeda was deactivated in April with shoulder trouble. He has a 5-3 record this season with a 2.20 ERA.
“His balance is off in different areas,” said pitching coach Yasuyuki Yamauchi. “We’re at the stage where this needs to be corrected.”
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks ace Tadashi Settsu was deactivated on Sunday due to fatigue, the Pacific League club’s pitching coach said.
Settsu allowed a run on four hits over eight innings in Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.73 ERA.
“It’s not a matter of where he’s hurting, it’s total fatigue,” pitching coach Ikuo Takayama said. “It’s not just this season. For four years he’s been cramming in a lot of work.”
Settsu, who was the PL’s rookie of the year in 2009 as a middle reliever, has been a hit as a starter since being put in the rotation in 2011. He has a career record of 45-21 with a 2.25 ERA.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5