Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Eagles' Takayuki Kishi shuts out Fighters in Kotaro Kiyomiya's debut

Kyodo

Takayuki Kishi surrendered marquee rookie Kotaro Kiyomiya’s first hit but finished with a three-hitter, leading the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to a 1-0 win over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Wednesday.

Before 27,661 at Sapporo Dome, Kishi (2-1) walked two and struck out 10 for his first shutout in two seasons. He got a first-inning lead thanks to a two-out triple by Ginji Akaminai and Zelous Wheeler’s RBI double, and made it stand up for nine innings.

The win was the first for the Eagles since April 22. The Pacific League cellar dwellers came into the game having lost seven straight.

Kishi retired the first five batters he faced before Kiyomiya took his first swing. The 18-year-old leaned into a 1-1 fastball and rocketed it off the high wall in distant right-center for a two-out double.

In his next at-bat, Kiyomiya turned on a first-pitch fastball and smoked it down the line in right, with it missing being fair by inches. Kishi handled the youngster after that, striking him out twice on some excellent changeups. Kiyomiya finished the game in the on-deck circle, when Kishi pitched out of a ninth-inning jam.

“He just crushed those balls,” Kishi said. “I knew I’d have to be careful with him in order to get him out.”

Kiyomiya, a record-setting high school slugger, was named by seven teams — including Rakuten — in last autumn’s amateur draft, and signed with Nippon Ham after the Fighters won his negotiating rights in a draft-day lottery.

The 18-year-old was called up from the farm team earlier in the day after hitting four home runs in a five-game stretch at the end of April.

“Getting a hit is a confidence builder, but I found things to learn from when I failed to get a hit,” Kiyomiya said.

Buffaloes 6, Lions 5

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Stefen Romero broke a 5-5, seventh-inning tie with his fourth home run of the season, and three Orix relievers delivered four perfect innings to seal the win over league-leading Seibu.

Hawks 8, Marines 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yuki Yanagita hit his sixth home run, doubled and drove in three runs as Fukuoka SoftBlank blasted Lotte.

The Hawks’ Seiichi Uchikawa went 2-for-4 to move within two hits of reaching 2,000 in his career.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 6, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Chunichi came from behind against Tokyo Yakult with three unearned seventh-inning runs, tying it on an error and pulling ahead on Nobumasa Fukuda’s two-out, two-run RBI single.

BayStars at Tigers — ppd.

Giants at Carp — ppd.