Rookie Shunta Wakamatsu snapped the Chunichi Dragons’ eight-game losing skid with an impressive first career shutout on Sunday as they beat the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants 5-0.
The right-hander scattered five hits, struck out six and walked two in a 139-pitch outing for his first complete game to halt the Giants’ five-game winning streak. The night before, Dragons closer Koji Fukutani blew a two-run lead in the ninth in a 5-4 loss.
“I’m happy with my first shutout but snapping the team’s skid is the most pleasing thing. I was pitching high early in the game but I could adjust while playing catch in front of the bench,” said Wakamatsu. “I’ve never gone beyond the seventh inning and I’m a bit tired to be really honest.”
The 20-year-old Wakamatsu (4-2) pitched 16⅓ innings in seven games last season and was 0-1, and entered Saturday with a 2.76 earned run average in 12 games this year.
Giants rookie Kazuto Taguchi (2-4) pitched perfectly for the opening three innings. The southpaw issued three straight one-out walks in the fourth before Kazuhiro Wada lined into a double play. But Anderson Hernandez singled off the right-field wall in the fifth and 24-year-old catcher Shota Sugiyama slugged a two-run home run to put Chunichi ahead.
Giants reliever Ryosuke Miyaguni took the mound in the sixth but doubled the deficit as he allowed two singles before a sacrifice fly from Nobumasa Fukuda and an RBI double from Hernandez.
Yohei Oshima put the icing on the cake with a solo homer in the ninth, going deep off Giants reliever Shoki Kasahara for the fifth run of the game.
“It’s all about the young battery today. Wakamatsu varied the pace of his pitches well and stayed vigilant,” Dragons player-manager Motonobu Tanishige said. “Sugiyama nailed it with one swing for the home run. He was well prepared.”
Swallows 5, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, journeyman submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (5-0) allowed five hits and two walks over seven innings, and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama broke a scoreless deadlock in the seventh with the first of his three RBIs to propel Tokyo Yakult past Hanshin and into first place.
Carp 5, BayStars 4
At Yokohama Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani made it 4-3 to the BayStars with a three-run shot in the sixth, but Rainel Rosario slugged a two-run homer off Shingo Hirata (0-1) in the eighth to turn the game around for Hiroshima.
Marines 2, Fighters 1
At Sapporo Dome, Chiba Lotte’s Yuta Omine (5-4) held Hokkaido Nippon Ham to a run on four hits in seven innings to get the better of Masaru Nakamura (0-3), who allowed a tie-breaking RBI single in the fifth to Ikuhiro Kiyota in his six-inning outing, allowing two runs on five hits.
Eagles 3, Buffaloes 0
At Kyocera Dome, Tohoku Rakuten’s Manabu Mima (3-7) allowed four hits in five innings and three relievers held Orix to another three hits. Wily Mo Pena ripped a two-run homer off Kazumasa Yoshida (0-1) in the fourth and Kazuya Fujita had an RBI single in the seventh.
Hawks 4, Lions 3
At Seibu Prince Dome, Shinya Tsuruoka broke open a tight game with a two-run single in Fukuoka Softbank’s three-run fourth inning and Hayato Terahara (6-0) held on for the win despite surrendering a three-run homer in the seventh to Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura, who hit his 30th.
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