HIROSHIMA – Hiroki Kuroda threw seven scoreless innings and the Hiroshima Carp bullpen barely held on in a 3-2 Central League win on Saturday over the Hanshin Tigers.
Before 31,748 at Mazda Stadium, Kuroda (3-1) allowed four hits but no walks over seven innings, while striking out four to outduel Yuta Iwasada (1-1). The Tigers lefty allowed a run on seven hits and two walks over 6-2/3 innings to suffer the tough loss. Iwasada, who struck out four, saw his ERA rise to 0.95.
“Rather than just pounding the zone, it was about being careful,” Kuroda said of his approach a day after Hanshin banged out 19 hits against his team.
“(Catcher Yoshiyuki) Ishihara paid careful attention to the batters and called a great game.”
The win saw Kuroda’s record against Hanshin improve to 5-0 since he returned to Japan last year from the big leagues.
“It felt like he was busting us inside with fastballs and just toying with us with his breaking stuff,” said Tigers skipper Tomoaki Kanemoto, a former Carp teammate of Kuroda’s.
“It didn’t look as if we had figured him out much.
The Carp broke through against Iwasada in the third on a one-out double by Kosuke Tanaka and an RBI single by Ryosuke Kikuchi. The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth.
“I didn’t feel I had my best stuff, but learned today that even then I was able to keep my team in the game,” Iwasada said. “There were issues and things that need considering, but I am looking forward to my next game.”
The southpaw’s effort was not lost on Tigers pitching coach Isao Koda.
“He (Iwasada) made an impression,” Koda said. “He was in a bad spot, made adjustments on the fly, went deep into the game and pitched well for us.”
Carp reliever Jay Jackson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Yoshihiro Maru and Takahiro Arai reached against Tigers right-hander Rafael Dolis and scored on a pinch-hit double by Ryuhei Matsuyama.
Hiroshima closer Shota Nakazaki issued a one-out walk before Mauro Gomez broke up the shutout with his seventh home run.
Arai went 1-for-2 with two walks to move to within three hits of 2,000 in his career.
Swallows 7, Dragons 5
At Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Yakult’s Yuhei Nakamura hit a three-run, come-from-behind homer in the ninth off Chunichi reliever Hitoki Iwase (0-1).
Iwase, whose 402 career saves are the most in Japanese baseball history, took the mound with two outs but allowed a single to Takahiro Araki before surrendering Nakamura’s homer.
BayStars 3, Giants 0
At Tokyo Dome, Yokohama’s Shoichi Ino (2-2) threw a five-hit shutout against Yomiuri, and Toshihiko Kuramoto hit a seventh-inning, three-run triple off reliever Seiji Tahara (1-1).
Marines 4, Buffaloes 3
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Orix scored two runs to tie it in the top of the ninth, but closer Yoshihisa Hirano (1-1) handed Chiba Lotte the winning run in the bottom of the inning with a one-out wild pitch after a Yoshifumi Okada triple.
Marines starter Hideaki Wakui was on track for his fifth win, having allowed a run over eight innings before closer Yuji Nishino (2-0) blew the save.
Lions 8, Eagles 8 (12)
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura tied the game in the seventh with a two-run, pinch-hit triple as the hosts recorded a tie against Tohoku Rakuten.
Eagles reliever Koji Aoyama loaded the bases in the ninth with a single and two walks but struck the final batter out swinging.
Fighters 4, Hawks 2 (10)
At Yafuoku Dome, Takuya Nakashima brought home the tie-breaking run in the 10th with a one-out safety squeeze off SoftBank reliever Yuito Mori (1-2), and Kensuke Tanaka plated another with a single as the Hawks’ eight-game winning streak come to an end.
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