Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Osera preserves record as Carp beat Tigers, move five games clear

Kyodo

Daichi Osera worked seven innings to keep his record an unblemished 5-0 and had his teammates to thank after the Hiroshima Carp beat the Hanshin Tigers 5-0 on Sunday.

The win before 31,720 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium moved the Carp five games ahead of the second-place Tigers in the Central League standings.

“I gave up a lot of hits, but was able to bear down and get outs,” said Osera, who pumped his fist after getting out of fifth- and seventh-inning pickles.

The right-hander struck out Hiroki Uemoto to end the fifth with runners on second and third. In the seventh, first baseman Brad Eldred stabbed at a sharp grounder to his right and made a good throw to Osera, who was right on time at first base for the out.

“I was pretty pumped up, and the fielders were workmanlike in making plays behind me that got me out of trouble,” Osera said. “I was overcome with relief.”

The Carp opened the scoring off Yuta Iwasada (3-5) in the first. After an error and a walk, a Seiya Suzuki single made it 1-0. Iwasada got out of a jam in the second and had retired seven straight hitters until Osera opened the door for a three-run, fourth-inning rally.

With two outs, the pitcher belted a fat 1-2 slider to the warning track in left and it bounced over the fence for a double.

“I wanted to show some grit at the plate there, that I could compete, and I got lucky,” said Osera, a career .086 hitter. “I thought I got all of it, but it still didn’t get out.”

The pitcher then showed his base-running chops by scoring from second on Kosuke Tanaka’s single over short and Ryosuke Kikuchi muscled up on a low-inside fastball and nearly hit it out over the second deck in left.

Iwasada lasted four innings, allowing four runs, three earned on five hits and three walks. The lefty struck out six.

Shota Nakazaki and Takeru Imamura mopped up in the eighth and ninth with 1-2-3 innings to close it out.

“That (my lack of losses) is entirely due to my teammates,” said Osera, who allowed eight hits and a walk, while striking out four. “There have been games where I’ve been roughed up, but they scored a lot of runs to take me off the hook.”

BayStars 6, Swallows 0

At Jingu Stadium, Shota Imanaga (4-4) allowed four hits and four walks in a 141-pitch shutout, and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo iced Yokohama’s win over Tokyo Yakult with his eighth home run, a three-run, seventh-inning shot.

Giants 4, Dragons 3

At Tokyo Dome, a pair of former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters came to Yomiuri’s rescue. Yang Dai-kang hit a fifth-inning solo homer and singled in the tying run in the ninth before pinch hitter Shingo Ishikawa plated Yang to win it off Chunichi closer Shinji Tajima (1-4), preventing a three-game Dragons sweep.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Buffaloes 5, Marines 1

At Kyocera Dome, Yuki Nishi (3-3) allowed an unearned run over eight innings, while Eiichi Koyano and Stefen Romero each hit an RBI double and a solo homer as Orix overcame a solid performance from Chiba Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (1-7).

Hawks 7, Lions 6

At Yafuoku Dome, light-hitting substitute Shuhei Fukuda cleared the fences with his seventh career homer, a two-run, walk-off shot in the ninth that snatched victory from defeat as Fukuoka SoftBank beat Seibu. The Hawks trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, when Yuya Hasegawa’s two-run home run narrowed the gap.

Eagles 6, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Takayuki Kishi (6-2) worked eight innings and Yuya Kubo worked a 1-2-3 ninth to complete Tohoku Rakuten’s five-hit shutout of Hokkaido Nippon Ham.