Miles Mikolas struck out eight while pitching a two-hitter over seven innings as the Yomiuri Giants defeated the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6-1 on Sunday, keeping their Central League playoff hopes alive.
The Giants scored first on Hisayoshi Chono’s groundout in the second and added a run two innings later on a throwing error, before veteran trio Shinnosuke Abe, Shuichi Murata and Chono hit three consecutive RBI singles in the seventh.
Scott Mathieson gave up one run in the eighth, but Arquimedes Caminero tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the win before a crowd of 44,141 at Tokyo Dome.
Yomiuri, currently sitting in fourth in the CL behind the third-place Yokohama BayStars by virtue of winning percentage, secured a winning record against last-place Yakult for the sixth straight year.
Mikolas (13-6), who issued three walks in his 104-pitch effort, said he went on the mound with the intention of taking it “one pitch at a time” and doing “whatever I could to keep us close and try to win this game.”
The righty tied his personal best for wins, which he marked two years ago when Mikolas made his debut in Nippon Professional Baseball.
“I had good command of most of my pitches. I was changing speeds well and we had a great defense behind us so I knew that I could let them put the ball in play when I needed to,” the 29-year-old American said.
The Giants, who need to finish in the top three to advance to the Climax Series, are set to take on the second-place Hanshin Tigers in a three-game series from Tuesday and the BayStars next Saturday and Sunday.
With 17 games remaining for Yomiuri during the regular season, Mikolas said, “Our goal right now is to win every game and to play our best and do what we can for the fans and for Tokyo.”
Carp 4, Dragons 3
At Nagoya Dome, Ryuhei Matsuyama hit a game-tying two-run shot and Ryoma Nishikawa drove in a run in the seventh as CL-leading Hiroshima came from behind to edge Chunichi for its ninth win in a row.
Tigers 7, BayStars 6
At Koshien Stadium, pinch hitter Hayata Ito hit a game-ending two-out, bases-loaded RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to lift Hanshin over the BayStars in a seesaw slugfest that featured 28 hits from both teams combined.
Eagles 2, Buffaloes 1
At Kobo Park Miyagi, Tohoku Rakuten ace Takahiro Norimoto (12-6) held Orix to a run over seven innings despite struggling to find the strike zone, and catcher Motohiro Shima drove in the winning run in the fifth as the Eagles won at home for the first time in 12 games.
Hawks 6, Marines 3
At Zozo Marine Field, Kenta Imamiya went 2-for-4 with four RBIs while Tsuyoshi Wada (4-0) gave up two runs over seven-plus innings and closer Dennis Sarfate picked up an unprecedented record 50 saves, as first-place Fukuoka SoftBank defeated Chiba Lotte to win nine straight for the first time in three seasons.
Lions 8, Fighters 7
At MetLife Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham erupted for a five-run sixth to tie the game at seven with Seibu, but rookie Sosuke Genda hit an RBI single in the bottom frame and three relievers combined to toss a perfect final three innings as the second-place Lions edged the Fighters.