CHIBA – Takashi Ogino legged out the double and Shogo Nakamura drove in the run.
As for Mike Bolsinger, well, he did the rest.
Bolsinger went to the mound in the second inning with the Chiba Lotte Marines ahead by one run and made the slim advantage hold up over the distance to record his first NPB shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Yomiuri Giants on a cool and cloudy Saturday afternoon at Zozo Marine Stadium.
“When I go out there, they’ve been scoring a lot of runs for me, so every time I go out there I’m like, hey just have a quality start,” Bolsinger said. “If you can give up three or fewer runs, the team is definitely going to back you up with the bats.”
The Giants would’ve been extremely lucky to get three off Bolsinger on this day.
With a good mix of pitches and his slider working well, Bolsinger kept the ball on the ground and the Kyojin off the scoreboard and also off the basepaths for the most part.
“His slider was good and he pitched with a good rhythm,” Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi said.
The Marines improved to 9-7 in interleague play, while the Giants fell to 8-9.
Bolsinger has gone 3-0 in his starts against the CL.
On Saturday, he scattered four hits across his nine innings, striking out seven, walking two and allowing just five baserunners.
“I think it was everything,” Bolsinger said when asked what worked best. “I was really mixing it up. When I was sitting watching video, the one note that I made was to mix it up and to go inside. Being a pitcher, you never want a hitter to be comfortable in the box. So going in is definitely important.”
The contest was light on offense, with the Kyojin‘s Kazuto Taguchi holding up his end of the pitcher’s duel with eight innings of one-run ball. Taguchi (2-4) struck out five and walked two while allowing six hits.
No player on either team managed more than one hit, and Ogino had the only extra-base knock in a contest that could’ve swung either way with one swing of the bat.
“I was a little nervous, because giving up a home run would’ve been pretty bad,” Lotte catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura said.
Bolsinger improved to 8-1 with a 2.06 ERA on the season and has won seven straight decisions.
“It’s my catcher,” he said, referring to Tamura. “He’s been doing all the work. He does all his homework and it makes my life a lot easier. When you’ve got the bats we do, to score the runs for me too, a lot of these wins are team wins. They’re really helping me out, making it a lot easier for me to pitch. I can’t thank my guys enough.”
The most trouble Bolsinger faced came during the first inning, when he allowed the first two Giants to reach base. With runners on first and second and no outs, Bolsinger struck out Daikan Yoh, got Kazuma Okamoto to fly out to right and struck out Shinnosuke Abe to end the frame.
“When I get guys on base, I don’t feel panicky. Because me being a groundball pitcher, I know I can keep trying to generate ground balls and get a double play,” Bolsinger said.
Ogino used a bit of aggressive base-running to turn an easy single into a double to begin the bottom of the first, a play he described as “a gamble.”
It didn’t take long for it to pay off. Yudai Fujioka followed with a sacrifice bunt and Ogino came home on Nakamura’s RBI groundout.
Neither team managed much more at the plate, with both starters on their game.
The two clubs will wrap up the interleague portion of their schedules on Sunday in Chiba.
The Marines will hand the ball to Tomohito Sakai (1-1) with veteran lefty Tetsuya Utsumi (1-0) set to get the start for the Kyojin.
Castillo, Mori lead Lions past Dragons
Tokorozawa Saitama Pref. KYODO
Fabio Castillo pitched seven strong innings and Tomoya Mori drove in five runs as the Seibu Lions beat the Chunichi Dragons 9-2 in interleague play on Saturday.
In front of 31,191 at MetLife Dome, right-hander Castillo (5-4) allowed two runs by conceding three hits and two walks. He was making his first start since Tuesday, when he was ejected in Seibu’s game against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in the fourth inning for hitting a batter in the head.
Mori went 2-for-5 with five RBIs. He opened the scoring in the third with a bases-loaded single, and blasted a sixth-inning grand slam to extend the Lions’ lead to 7-2.
“I had great contact, so I knew the ball went over the fence,” Mori said of the grand slam. “Fabi was doing his best and the bases were loaded, so I really wanted to drive in another run. I’m really glad.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Shuta Tonosaki broke a 2-2 tie with a solo home run off Chunichi starter Onelki Garcia (7-3).
Castillo allowed the visitors to tie the game in the top of the inning by yielding two runs. The Dominican righty allowed Shuhei Takahashi to double and score on Yota Kyoda’s grounder before Yohei Oshima drove in another run.
Seibu bagged two more runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Hawks 6, Carp 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Yuya Hasegawa’s seventh-inning RBI single tied the game, and Akira Nakamura’s sacrifice fly sealed Fukuoka SoftBank’s come-from-behind win over Hiroshima.
Seiichi Uchikawa, who was making his return from an injury, blasted a two-run homer.
Tigers 2, Eagles 1
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Masahiro Nakatani tied the game in the ninth and Shun Takayama drove the winning run as Hanshin edged Tohoku Rakuten and improved to second in the Central League standings.
Kentaro Kuwahara (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, while Kyuji Fujikawa earned his first save in two seasons.
BayStars 1, Buffaloes 0 (11)
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, rookie Kazuki Kamizato hit an 11th-inning RBI triple in Yokohama’s victory over Orix.
BayStars starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi allowed two hits and three walks over seven innings, and Kazuki Mishima (4-0) picked up the win for pitching the 10th inning.
Fighters 2, Swallows 1
At Sapporo Dome, Toshitake Yokoo broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth in Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s win over interleague-leading Tokyo Yakult.
The Fighters extended their winning streak to four.
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