Kawakami avoids pitfalls in win over Tigers


Chunichi’s former ace, Kenshin Kawakami, tiptoed successfully through a minefield he laid himself to work six scoreless innings in the Dragons’ 4-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Wednesday.

Kawakami (1-2) allowed just three hits, but walked five batters and also hit one to outduel Randy Messenger (1-3), who gave up three runs in six innings as Hanshin saw its four-game winning streak snapped.

The Dragons broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth after managing just three hits off Messenger through the first five innings. Singles by Yohei Oshima and Hector Luna set the table along with a walk by Ryosuke Hirata. Masahiko Morino broke the ice with a two-run single and Naomichi Donoue singled home another.

The defeat knocked Hanshin two games back in the Central League standings behind the front-running Hiroshima Carp, while the Yomiuri Giants supplanted the Tigers in the second spot.

Carp 6, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Jun Hirose doubled and homered and drove in three runs as league-leading Hiroshima whipped Tokyo Yakult, behind six innings from Brian Bullington (3-2).

Giants 4, BayStars 1

At Kagoshima’s Kamoike Stadium, Jose Lopez tied the game at 1-1 with his seventh homer, and Hayato Sakamoto’s two-run single broke the tie in the seventh as Yomiuri defeated Yokohama and won its third straight.

Marines 3, Buffaloes 1

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Chiba Lotte lefty Takuya Furuya (3-1) allowed a run on four hits in seven innings, while striking out seven — including all three batters in a 1-2-3 first inning. A pair of second-inning singles and a botched relay play by Orix handed the hosts a decisive two-run lead.

Fighters 10, Hawks 6

At Tokyo Dome, double-duty Hokkaido Nippon Ham star Shohei Otani fired the first salvo in a game that saw both teams combine for nine homers, and the Fighters held on to beat Softbank. Rookie Hiroshi Urano (1-0) allowed four runs in 5⅓ to earn his first career victory.

Lions 7, Eagles 5

At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Masato Kumashiro broke a a 5-5, eighth-inning tie with a two-out single as Seibu battled back to beat Tohoku Rakuten in a game that saw Eagles pitchers issue 12 walks and hit a batter.