HIROSHIMA – Hiroki Kuroda was forced to wait again for his 200th career win after allowing six runs in 6⅔ innings to the Yomiuri Giants on Wednesday, taking the loss in the Hiroshima Carp’s 6-0 defeat in the Central League.
On the final day before the All-Star break, Kuroda (6-5) allowed 10 hits and struck out five on 110 pitches, failing to add to his 120 wins in Nippon Professional Baseball, to go along with his 79 in the majors, with his second loss in as many starts.
His counterpart Kazuto Taguchi (5-6) blanked his hometown team over six frames, giving up three hits and four walks while striking out seven in a 93-pitch outing.
League-leading Hiroshima beat Yomiuri 13-3 on Tuesday, connecting on 19 hits.
“I was watching the replays and I had an impression of them (Hiroshima) as being shrewd. But I could pitch with determination to give my team the momentum,” said the 20-year-old Taguchi, who was happy to come out on top in a duel against a pitcher he idolizes.
“I’ve had the chance to face Kuroda numerous times, he teaches me something every time I watch him. I just wanted to give my team the lift against the team at the top.”
Shinnosuke Abe slugged Kuroda’s first pitch, a two-seam fastball, of the second inning into the right-field seats to give the Giants an early lead.
The Carp pitcher then had two 1-2-3 innings and worked around two singles in the fifth, but again allowed a run through Abe, this time on an RBI single, in the sixth.
Yasuhiro Yamamoto began the inning with a double before reaching third with two outs, and Abe’s bouncing drive evaded first baseman Takahiro Arai for an RBI single. Shuichi Murata then blasted to the upper terrace in left to make the score 4-0.
Kuroda remained on the mound for Hiroshima in the seventh but gave up another leadoff double, this time to Seiji Kobayashi. Itaru Hashimoto doubled in Yomiuri’s fifth and Hayato Sakamoto singled in another run to knock out Kuroda.
Hiroshima saw its four-game winning run halted but remained at top of the CL standings heading into the break, holding a massive nine-game lead over the Giants thanks to 11 straight wins in June.
BayStars 7, Dragons 2
At Yokohama Stadium, BayStars starter Zach Petrick (1-1) allowed two runs in five innings to pick up his first win in Japan and also contributed on offense with a two-run single to tie the game in the fourth. Taketoshi Goto, Elian Herrera and Jose Lopes added runs for Yokohama in a four-run sixth.
Fighters 3, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix reliever Kazumasa Yoshida allowed two walks and a single with two outs in the eighth, and Sho Nakata cleared the bases with a double off closer Yoshihisa Hirano for Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Eagles 4, Lions 3
At Saitama’s Seibu Prince Dome, Tohoku Rakuten’s Toshiaki Imae hit a tie-breaking single off reliever Shota Takekuma to overturn the deficit in the sixth and Felix Perez hit his second homer for the Eagles with a solo shot off the southpaw in the seventh. Kona Takahashi (3-6) lost his fourth straight start.
Hawks 3, Marines 0
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Kodai Senga (8-0) threw eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits against Chiba Lotte, while Yuki Yoshimura scored the first run on Yuya Hasegawa’s single in the second before driving in the next two with a double in the fourth, as PL-leading Fukuoka SoftBank won its fourth straight and went 30 games above .500.