Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Giants sweep BayStars to close in on playoff spot

Kyodo

Rookie Seishu Hatake allowed a run in eight innings as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Yokohama BayStars 6-1 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

The win before 44,625 at Tokyo Dome pushed the fourth-place Giants to within two games of the BayStars, who occupy third place in the Central League — and the CL’s playoff spot.

Locating his fastball like a laser pointer, Hatake (3-1) surrendered three hits, while striking out nine. Yomiuri’s second-round draft pick last autumn, Hatake walked one batter in a 125-pitch outing.

“The position players putting up some runs in the first inning allowed me to just pitch for all I was worth,” said Hatake, who had clinically cut the visiting hitters down to size in a 1-2-3 first, when he challenged and struck out Japan cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

“My calling card right now is my fastball and I wanted to see how it would play against the better hitters, so I threw it as well as I could there. My breaking balls were all over the place and that hindered me (from pitching the ninth). I want to work on that next time.”

Leadoff man Yoh Daikan and slugging No. 2 hitter Casey McGehee sparked a four-run first by drawing walks from rookie lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi (7-5). Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto singled in a run, cleanup hitter Shinnosuke Abe delivered a sacrifice fly and Shuichi Murata belted his ninth home run of the season.

Hamaguchi righted his sinking ship to keep the Giants from pulling away but surrendered two more runs in the fifth, when McGehee doubled with two outs and scored on a Sakamoto single. An Abe single set the table for Murata, whose third hit of the day made it 6-0.

The BayStars got their only run of the game in the eighth, when Takayuki Kajitani led off the inning with his 15th homer of the season.

Tigers 3, Dragons 2 (11)

At Nagoya Dome, career saves leader Hitoki Iwase (3-6) rewrote the record for games in a season by a pitcher in his 40s, appearing in his 49th game at the age of 42. However, the lefty surrendered three singles in the 11th to take the loss as Hanshin beat Chunichi.

Carp 6, Swallows 5 (10)

At Mazda Stadium, Brad Eldred’s 10th-inning walk-off RBI single lifted Hiroshima past Toyko Yakult. Ryuhei Matsuyama homered twice and Yoshihiro Maru hit a two-run shot as the hosts came back from a 5-1 deficit.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Buffaloes 3, Marines 2

At Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Hiroyuki Nakajima broke a 2-2, seventh-inning tie by homering off Chiba Lotte starter Kota Futaki (5-6), who went the distance in a losing effort.

Fighters 9, Lions 3

At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Shohei Otani went 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and three RBIs and rookie Kenta Uehara (1-4) worked five scoreless innings to earn the win against Seibu.

Hawks 4, Eagles 1

At Kobo Park Miyagi, Alfredo Despaigne doubled, homered and drove in three runs, and Fukuoka SoftBank’s four relievers retired all 13 batters they faced over the final 4⅓ innings to shut down Tohoku Rakuten, which lost its sixth straight.

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