Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Naoyuki Uwasawa, Fighters maintain mastery over Hawks

by Jason Coskrey

Staff Writer

When Naoyuki Uwasawa wasn’t on the mound doing his part to hold down the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters starter was busy standing up to celebrate another big hit by one of teammates.

He barely had time to rest, but when things are going this well, who needs a break?

Uwasawa (8-3) threw eight shutout innings as he and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters continued their recent mastery over the reigning Japan Series champions in an 12-0 rout on Tuesday night at Tokyo Dome.

“I got into a pinch after we got the first run, but I’m glad I was able to persevere,” Uwasawa said.

Nippon Ham has dominated the first two games of the series, following up Monday night’s 10-1 demolition with another drilling. Nippon Ham had its best output of the season at the plate, outhitting SoftBank 19-3.

“I’m grateful for them for the support and making it easier to pitch,” Uwasawa said.

The Fighters have won seven of their last eight meetings against SoftBank. The club also improved to 9-2 at the Big Egg this season.

“I think it was big, the way everyone was helping me out,” Uwasawa said.

Uwasawa ran his personal record against SoftBank to 3-0 in 2018 and has allowed just one run in 24 innings against the Hawks. On Tuesday, he struck out seven while allowing just three hits and a pair of walks.

Haruki Nishikawa went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs one night after recording five hits and four RBIs in the series opener.

Nishikawa drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single in the fifth, then homered to right in the seventh. He thought the home run, his seventh of the season, had sliced into foul territory, and turned back toward the home plate umpire before going around the bases.

“I thought it’d gone foul when I hit it,” Nishikawa said. “It came back for a home run and was a well-hit ball. I also think it was good to add a run for the team.”

Nishikawa knocked in another run with a double in the eighth.

Yushi Shimizu also homered for the Fighters and finished 3-for-5 with a two-run double and his sixth home run of the season.

Kensuke Tanaka drove in pair of runs, Kensuke Kondo had an RBI single and Sho Nakata had a run-scoring double among his three hits.

Eight of the Fighters’ nine starters finished with at least one hit.

Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo used seven different pitchers who combined to allow 19 hits. Shota Takeda (2-6) was the first to toe the rubber and took the loss after allowing two runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.

Eagles edge Buffaloes

Yamagata KYODO

Toshiaki Imae’s eighth-inning, two-run homer lifted the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to a 3-2 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Tuesday in the Pacific League.

Left-hander Yuhei Takanashi (1-2), who pitched one-third of an inning in relief in the eighth, picked up his first win of the season.

Marines 7, Lions 5

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, left-hander Takahiro Matsunaga (1-1) retired the only batter he faced to close the seventh for his first win of the season in Chiba Lotte’s win over the PL-leading Seibu.

Tatsuhiro Tamura’s RBI single capped the Marines’ three-run eighth inning.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 6, Swallows 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, southpaw Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes picked up his first win for pitching five innings in his top-team debut as Yomiuri defeated Tokyo Yakult.

Before an announced crowd of 29,563, Mercedes allowed five hits while striking out two without giving up a single walk.

“I’m really happy to earn my first win in my first outing. I want to share this great news with my family (back home),” the 24-year-old Dominican said. “The batters gave me offensive support today, especially with their home runs.”

Hisayoshi Chono put the Giants on the scoreboard first with his second-inning, solo home run off right-hander David Buchanan (6-6). Casey McGehee and Hayato Sakamoto each blasted two-run homers in the third and fourth innings, respectively.

The Swallows’ batters rallied late but were unable to overcome a five-run deficit. Tetsuto Yamada singled and scored in the sixth, before Tsuyoshi Ueda drove in another run the following inning. Yuhei Takai went 3-for-4 and singled in a run in the eighth.

Yomiuri right-hander Scott Mathieson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.

Dragons 13, BayStars 8

At Yokohama Stadium, Dayan Viciedo drove in six runs with a first-inning, two-run homer and a sixth-inning grand slam as Chunichi topped Yokohama.

Yota Kyoda went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and scored twice.

Tigers at Carp — ppd.