NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Lefty Suguru Iwazaki threw seven scoreless innings and Fumihito Haraguchi broke up a scoreless pitchers’ duel with an eighth-inning home run as the Hanshin Tigers wrapped up this year’s interleague action with a 2-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Monday.
In a makeup of their Kansai Derby game that was rained out last Thursday, Iwazaki faced his sternest challenge in the seventh, when Orix loaded the bases with two outs. Iwazaki finished his evening by striking out pinch hitter Hiroyuki Nakajima to turn back the Buffaloes.
Iwazaki allowed five hits and walked two, while striking out six. He was followed to the mound by Kyuji Fujikawa (3-4), who pitched a perfect eighth and earned the win in relief. Rafael Dolis worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his third save.
Haraguchi, a career minor leaguer, continued to make the most of his first season with the big club. The Central League’s player of the month for May, Haraguchi took veteran reliever Tatsuya Sato (0-4) deep, pulling a 2-2 breaking ball down the left-field line for his sixth home run.
“I wasn’t sure it was going in,” said Haraguchi, who struck out twice and sacrificed. “Maybe it was the wind, maybe it was the crowd’s support that got it over.
“My focus was just to put a good swing on the ball.”
“We’ve got the rest of a long, hard fight ahead of us, so it’s great to wrap up interleague with a win.”
Orix starter Yuki Nishi matched zeroes with Iwazaki for six innings, pitching out of trouble three times. Nishi allowed five hits and an intentional walk, while striking out five.
In the 12th year of interleague competition, the Pacific League earned the most wins for the 11th time, finishing with a 60-47 record. There was one tie. The CL-leading Hiroshima Carp were the only team to finish interleague over .500. League play will resume on Friday.
Fighters 5, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Brandon Laird pulled into a tie for the PL home run lead with his 22nd, a two-run shot that brought Hokkaido Nippon Ham from a run down. Anthony Bass (5-5) allowed two runs in six innings to earn the win, while Chris Martin recorded his third save. Yokohama has now lost six straight for the first time this season.