Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Tigers starter Takumi Akiyama in control in nine-strikeout performance against BayStars

Kyodo

Takumi Akiyama went the distance and Yoshio Itoi opened the scoring in the Hanshin Tigers’ 7-1 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Tuesday.

Akiyama (2-3) did not issue a walk and limited the visitors to six hits, while striking out nine in his 107-pitch effort at Koshien Stadium.

The right-hander started off by retiring the first five batters he faced before giving up a hit in the second inning. However, he bounced back and recorded 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.

He came close to throwing a shutout before allowing a sacrifice fly to Yoshitomo Tsutsugo with one out in the ninth. BayStars rookie Shumei Miyamoto led off the inning with a single and scored on Tsutsugo’s sac fly for Yokohama’s only run of the game.

“I couldn’t hold off until the very end. I think that shows my personality,” said Akiyama, who turned 27 on Saturday.

“I started out great, retiring the first three hitters, and the team scored three runs (in the bottom of the inning). We found our rhythm.”

Itoi went 2-for-4 and hit a pair of RBI singles. In the first with a runner on third, he recorded a hit off left-hander Shota Imanaga (0-2) to put Hanshin on the scoreboard first.

“I wanted our team to have an early lead. Akiyama pitched well today, so the hitters were able to follow his way,” Itoi said.

Akiyama hit an RBI single for Hanshin’s fourth run of the game before scoring on Itoi’s RBI single for a three-run fourth. Hiroki Uemoto belted his first home run of the season in the sixth.

Imanaga allowed six runs and 10 hits while striking out three in four innings.

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