Utsumi blanks BayStars as Giants widen lead


Tetsuya Utsumi threw a four-hit shutout as the Yomiuri Giants cruised past the Yokohama BayStars 4-0 on Friday and moved five games clear at the top of the Central League standings.

Utsumi (5-8) struck out five without issuing a walk as he pitched his second shutout of the season. His other shutout also came against the BayStars, when he stopped them on five hits on Aug. 29. The win was Yomiuri’s fourth straight and pushed them five games ahead of the second-place Hiroshima Carp.

“I wanted to pitch so as not to hold us back. They have an amazing lineup, so I worked carefully to each and every batter, and all I thought about was how I could get them out,” said the 32-year-old lefty. “My bread-and-butter pitch, my fastball, did it tonight.”

Shinnosuke Abe gave the Giants a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off Yokohama ace Daisuke Miura (5-6) with a two-out RBI single. Yasuyuki Kataoka made it a 3-0 game with a two-run, fourth-inning home run. Leadoff man Hisayoshi Chono, who had singled and scored the Giants’ first run, completed the scoring with a one-out RBI single in the fourth.

Miura, the CL’s pitcher of the month for August, allowed four runs in 3⅓ innings. He allowed seven hits and a walk, while hitting one batter and striking out one.

Tigers 8, Carp 2

At Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami (9-8) scattered eight hits, two walks and a hit batsman in allowing just two runs in his second complete game victory for Hanshin in a win over second-place Hiroshima that snapped the Tigers’ six-game losing streak.

Dragons 3, Swallows 1

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiko Morino drove in all three runs for Chunichi and Daisuke Yamai (11-4) allowed a run over seven innings to earn the win against last-place Tokyo Yakult.