Tomoyuki Sugano pitched seven solid innings to push the Yomiuri Giants into second place in the Central League on the strength of a 3-0 win on Tuesday over the Hanshin Tigers, who dropped back into third.
Before 46,795 at Tokyo Dome, Sugano (10-10) surrendered three singles and three walks, while striking out 10, two of them after the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the second inning.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today, but (catcher Seiji) Kobayashi called a great game and got me through it,” said Sugano, who has reached double digits in wins in each of his three pro seasons. “We don’t have a lot of games left to play, so I was more fired up today than usual.”
Yomiuri, which is looking for its fourth straight CL pennant, started the day in a virtual tie for second with the Tigers, remained two games behind the league-leading Tokyo Yakult Swallows, while Hanshin fell a game further back. The top three teams will earn postseason berths.
“Our only thought is on winning the pennant,” said Sugano.
The Giants, who wasted a two-on, no-out opportunity in the third, broke the ice against lefty Suguru Iwazaki (3-9) in the sixth. Soichiro Tateoka reached on a leadoff infield single, moved to second on a bunt and scored on Hayato Sakamoto’s double.
Iwazaki took the loss despite allowing one run on four hits and a hit batsman over six innings, but Yomiuri added two more runs against Hanshin’s bullpen.
Taishi Ota singled to open the seventh, was sacrificed to second and scored on a double by Kobayashi, while Hisayoshi Chono doubled home Leslie Anderson in the eighth to complete the scoring.
Swallows 4, Carp 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult ace Masanori Ishikawa (12-9) allowed a run in six innings, while his teammates ground out four runs — two earned — against Takaya Toda (3-3) in four innings in a win over Hiroshima.
Swallows closer Tony Barnette allowed a run in the ninth but tied a team record with his 37th save.
BayStars 10, Dragons 6
At Yokohama Stadium, ace Daisuke Miura (6-5) allowed two runs in six innings and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Hiroki Minei drove in three runs apiece as Yokohama beat Chunichi.
Marines 8, Eagles 2
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Tadahito Iguchi hit a three-run, first-inning homer and Chiba Lotte never looked back behind the pitching of Ayumu Ishikawa (11-12), who held last-place Tohoku Rakuten scoreless on seven hits over seven innings.
Lions 5, Buffaloes 2
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Ernesto Mejia broke the ice with a third-inning RBI single and Hideto Asamura cranked his 12th home run, a three-run shot, in the fifth as Seibu defeated Orix to maintain a one-game advantage over Chiba Lotte in the race for the PL’s final playoff spot.
Fighters 4, Hawks 3
At Sapporo Dome, Brandon Laird hit a two-run sayonara home run in the ninth inning as Hokkaido Nippon Ham came from behind to beat Fukuoka Softbank closer Dennis Sarfate (5-1).
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