NISHINOMIYA, HYODO PREF. - Rookie Daichi Osera (3-1) came within three outs of his first shutout but settled for his first complete game as the Hiroshima Carp avoided a three-game sweep on Thursday night by beating the Hanshin Tigers 6-1.
Osera, the Carp’s top draft pick last autumn, allowed eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven to win his third straight decision and move Central League-leading Hiroshima one full game ahead of second-place Hanshin.
“If you are a starter, you never really want to surrender the mound to another pitcher, so I’m pretty happy with getting a complete game. At the end I was trying to hang in there and use all my strength on each and every pitch.”
Before a crowd of 38,457 at Koshien Stadium, Osera duked it out with rookie lefty Suguru Iwazaki, who was backed by the CL’s most prolific offense.
“I didn’t have a particular approach tonight,” Osera said. “I just tried to hit (catcher Yoshiyuki) Ishihara’s mitt. I went after them inside. My cutter was particularly good tonight.”
Rainel Rosario recorded the game’s first hit when he opened the third inning with a homer off Iwazaki (2-2). The Tigers opened the third with back-to-back singles, but Osera pitched out of the jam and soon had more room to work with.
The Carp scored twice in the top of the fourth, when Brad Eldred singled home Ryosuke Kikuchi and scored on a Rosario double.
Hiroshima drove Iwazaki from the mound in the fifth on back-to-back, one-out singles by Kikuchi and Yoshihiro Maru. Right-hander Ryo Watanabe was brought in to face Eldred with one out, and the Carp cleanup hitter reached the seats for his ninth home run of the season to make it a 6-0 game.
Osera pitched out of a few pickles to reach the ninth with the shutout intact but said he doesn’t work differently based on the situation.
“I’m not the kind of pitcher who can make little adjustments depending on the situation,” he said. “I just throw hard.”
Mauro Gomez broke up the shutout in the ninth inning, when he belted a fat pitch for his fifth homer of the season. With Osera’s pitch count climbing, he gave up two hits in the final frame, prompting a visit from skipper Kenjiro Nomura.
“He told me that shutouts were not easy to come by and that I should just put that out of my mind and get the next guy,” said Osera, who finished what he started with his 148th pitch.
“On one hand, I’m pretty excited, having thrown my first complete game, but I’m also a bit tired.”
Giants 4, Swallows 2
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Yoshinobu Takahashi’s two-run, pinch-hit single snapped a 2-2, sixth-inning tie to hand Toshiya Sugiuchi (2-2) the win after he allowed Tokyo Yakult to tie it in the top of the inning.
BayStars 12, Dragons 6
At Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama won a series for the first time this season despite blowing a five-run lead to Chunichi. With the game tied 6-6 in the seventh, Aarom Baldiris’ sacrifice fly put the hosts ahead for good.
Hawks 4, Buffaloes 0
At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, five Softbank pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout of league-leading Orix, with side-arm southpaw Kazuyuki Hoashi (1-0) going 5⅔ innings to earn the win behind homers from Toru Hosokawa, Seiichi Uchikawa and Lee Dae-ho.
Eagles 8, Marines 4
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Tohoku Rakuten came from a run down to snap Chiba Lotte’s winning streak at six on the strength of a four-run fourth inning. Catcher Motohiro Shima put the hosts in front with a two-run single, while Andruw Jones hit a pair of homers for the Japan Series champs.
Fighters 9, Lions 5
At Saitama’s Seibu Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham overturned a three-run deficit in a six-run fourth inning to beat Seibu. After tying it on RBI singles by Juan Miranda and Tomoya Ichikawa, Eiichi Koyano broke the tie with a two-run single. Haruki Nishikawa’s RBI double capped the rally.