Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Kuroda helps power surging Carp to 11th straight victory

Kyodo

Hiroki Kuroda held the Tokyo Yakult Swallows to a run in seven innings and also hit a three-run double as the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp won 8-1 on Wednesday, claiming their 11th straight game for the first time since 1984.

Former big leaguer Kuroda (6-3) allowed three hits and a walk, fanning four in 93 pitches.

Tetsuto Yamada scored the Swallows’ only run with a solo shot over the center field wall in the second, the on-fire Yakult slugger hitting his CL-leading 26th of the season.

But Hiroshima scored four runs in the third before Kuroda showed his prowess at the plate in the sixth. Yakult’s Yoshihisa Naruse loaded the bases with two outs with his third walk of the inning, and Kuroda drove his counterpart’s first-pitch fastball to left to clear the bases.

“It’ll never happen again,” laughed the 41-year-old Kuroda, who has now won 199 games in Japan and the United States combined. “I was in a good condition compared to my recent outings having gotten a longer rest, and was able to pitch with no setbacks from the early innings.”

Yakult rookie Juri Hara (2-8) got off to two perfect innings but got the hook after allowing two singles to open the third and feeling discomfort in his right shoulder. Takeaki Tokuyama took over but issued a walk with one out to load the bases and Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled to right to plate two runs to turn the game around.

The jam continued for the right-hander with runners on second and third, and with two outs Hector Luna drove in two runs with a single to the center field.

Hara allowed two runs on two hits in two-plus innings, striking out two in a 38-pitch outing.

Hiroshima reliever Bradin Hagens allowed two singles and a walk in the eighth to load the bases but Shingo Kawabata grounded out.

Kikuchi got his third RBI in the bottom half with a two-out double off Kentaro Kyuko after Tetsuya Kokubo also doubled.

“(Kuroda) will not hit one like that again,” Kikuchi joked. “Kuroda isn’t that young, you know, so I’ll try to help him win the game again.”

Giants 3, Dragons 2

At Toyko Dome, Yomiuri tied it in the fifth through Shinnosuke Abe’s RBI double and Chunichi’s Katsuki Matayoshi (2-5) issued a bases-loaded walk in the seventh after the right-hander allowed a double, a walk and a single.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 5, Lions 3

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu’s Ken Togame (1-3) issued two walks and hit a batter in the seventh before Kensuke Tanaka cleared the bases with a triple to break the tie as Hokkaido Nippon Ham won its seventh straight.

Hawks 7, Marines 6 (10)

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, SoftBank scored five runs to tie the game in the eighth off Chiba Lotte relievers Takahiro Matsunaga and Naoya Masuda before Kenta Imamiya, who went 4-for-5, hit a walk-off RBI double in the 10th. Yamaico Navarro had two homers for the Marines.

Eagles 5, Buffaloes 3

At Okinawa Cellular Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten’s Yasuhito Uchida hit an RBI double in the first and broke a tie with a leadoff solo shot in the sixth off Orix’s Daiki Tomei (1-6).