Kazuto Taguchi held the Yokohama BayStars to a run on two hits over 7-2/3 innings and won his third straight start as the Yomiuri Giants secured a 5-2 victory in the Central League on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Taguchi (8-6), who had his first career shutout a week ago against the Chunichi Dragons, fanned seven and was pulled after issuing his fourth and final walk with his team leading 5-0. Reliever Seiji Tahara entered and surrendered a two-run home run to Toshiro Miyazaki.
Taguchi, who was the CL’s pitcher of the month for July, has not lost since June 28, while the Giants’ win lifted them to within 4-1/2 games of the first-place Hiroshima Carp.
Itaru Hashimoto opened the scoring in the third, pulling a first-pitch forkball off Yokohama’s Shun Yamaguchi (7-5) down the first-base line for a two-out, two-run triple after the right-hander had issued two walks.
“He’s a good pitcher and I was looking to hit from the first pitch. I knew it’d be difficult if I got behind in the count,” Hashimoto said. “I don’t normally hit it that way and I’m glad it got through.”
The Giants’ Shinnosuke Abe hit a leadoff double in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 23 games, the longest this season in Nippon Professional Baseball and the fourth-longest streak in team history, before coming home on a one-out wild pitch by Yamaguchi.
Taguchi scored a run in the seventh, reaching on a two-out single before Hisayoshi Chono went deep off Yamaguchi, who allowed five runs in seven innings on four hits and three walks, while striking out nine.
Swallows 3, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Wataru Hiyane singled in the go-ahead run off Chunichi’s Yudai Ono (5-7) in Tokyo Yakult’s three-run fifth.
Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-5) allowed two runs over 6-1/3 innings for his first win in four starts — when he last faced the Dragons.
Tigers 2, Carp 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin’s Fumiya Hojo hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the second and singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth off Hiroshima’s Yuya Fukui (2-4).
Tigers ace Atsushi Nomi (7-9) allowed a run over 6-2/3 innings.
Buffaloes 3, Hawks 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Brent Morel hit a two-run double in the first and Shuhei Kojima hit a tie-breaking RBI single off reliever Edison Barrios (0-1) in the seventh to send PL-leading Fukuoka SoftBank to its fourth-straight loss.
Fighters 4, Lions 3 (11)
At Sapporo Dome, Brandon Laird went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to tie the game, and Hokkaido Nippon Ham earned a walk-off win against Seibu when Kensuke Nakata hit a two-out liner that first baseman Hotaka Yamakawa mishandled for an error, allowing the winning run to score from second.
Marines 5, Eagles 3
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Kei Hosoya’s third-inning RBI infield single put Chiba Lotte in front, and Alfredo Despaigne, who went 3-for-3, hit a two-run shot in the fourth off Tohoku Rakuten’s Yoshinao Kamata (6-4).
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