Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets first NPB win since 2006 as Dragons beat BayStars

Kyodo

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six innings and claimed his first win since returning to Nippon Professional Baseball in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-1 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Monday.

Former major leaguer Matsuzaka (1-2) limited the BayStars to one run on three hits, while issuing seven walks, and striking out six, to help the Dragons snap their losing streak at four. The win was his first NPB victory since 2006, before he moved to the Boston Red Sox.

“The team was having a difficult time, and it feels amazing to earn my first win in a long time in front of so many people,” Matsuzaka said before a holiday crowd of 36,606. “Our opponent is really good, but I really wanted to stop our losing streak so I was just gunning from the beginning.

“The team and I both have room for improvement, but I hope today will help us find our rhythm. I want to keep doing my best.”

The 37-year-old Matsuzaka, who has been plagued with injuries since returning to Japan ahead of the 2015 season, had pitched just one inning for the Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks over the past three seasons, and signed with Chunichi in the winter as a free agent.

Matsuzaka limited the Baystars to two hits and three walks up to the fourth with Chunichi leading 3-0, but a hit and two walks put him into a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth. After grounding out the next hitter, he issued a walk to Toshiro Miyazaki for Yokohama’s only run of the game.

“It happened to be Miyazaki, but I thought that (issuing a walk) was the best way to limit (Yokohama) after the bases were loaded. It couldn’t be helped,” Matsuzaka said.

Matsuzaka, a member of the 2007 World Series champion Red Sox, got little offensive support in his previous two starts since joining the Dragons. But this time, Chunichi opened the game with a three-run inning.

Yohei Oshima drew a walk from right-hander Satoshi Iizuka (0-2) and scored on Zoilo Almonte’s grounder to second. Dayan Viciedo added another run with an RBI single.

Iizuka allowed four hits and a walk, while fanning five in five innings.

Giants 11, Swallows 1

At Tokyo Dome, Ryoma Nogami (3-1) gave up a run on six hits and a walk over seven innings, and Alex Guerrero went 3-for-5 as Yomiuri claimed its eighth straight win.

Tigers 4, Carp 2

At Mazda Stadium, Wilin Rosario’s two-run, 10th-inning homer broke a 2-2 tie as the Tigers defeated CL-leading Hiroshima.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 5, Eagles 2

At MetLife Dome, Takumi Kuriyama’s fourth-inning, RBI double broke a 2-2 tie, and Shogo Akiyama singled twice and drove in three runs as Seibu completed a three-game sweep of Tohoku Rakuten.

Buffaloes 6, Hawks 5

At Kyocera Dome, Takahiro Okada hit a two-run RBI in the first, then added his first homer of the season, a two-run, third-inning shot off Kenichi Nakata (2-1), as Orix won a slugfest against SoftBank. Rookie Daiki Tajima (3-1) picked up the win despite allowing three homers.

Marines 4, Fighters 2

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Tsuyoshi Sugano and Shogo Nakamura hit two-run RBI singles as Chiba Lotte defeated Hokkaido Nippon Ham.