Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Dragons’ Garcia flirts with no-hitter in victory over Carp

Kyodo

Onelki Garcia carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and singled in a run as the Chunichi Dragons shut out the Hiroshima Carp 5-0 on Wednesday.

Garcia (10-4) allowed a hit and walked two, while striking out eight as the lefty outlasted Hiroshima right-hander Akitake Okada (6-4). The win allowed the Dragons to avoid being swept at home by the league leaders.

“I’ve never won 10 games in my career before. A lot of these 10 wins are due to the support of the fans and my teammates,” said Garcia, who retired the first two batters he faced in the game before the Carp loaded the bases.

“Garcia had a hiccup there in the first inning, but he was pretty much perfect after that,” said Dragons catcher Masato Matsui. “We had spoken about getting the leadoff hitter out in each inning, and he was able to do that and throw for all he was worth against the next hitter.”

The Dragons broke up the scoreless pitching duel in the bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by Matsui, Garcia and Yota Kyoda. Dayan Viciedo drew a leadoff walk and was singled to second by Zoilo Almonte.

After a sacrifice, pinch hitter Steven Moya was walked intentionally, but Matsui made the Carp pay by singling in Viciedo. Garcia singled to make it 2-0, and with two outs, Kyoda capped the rally with a two-run single.

Garcia, who had not allowed a runner since two walks and his own error put him in jeopardy in the first, lost his no-hit bid in the eighth, when Tsubasa Aizawa mishit a pitch but got enough on it to loft it over second for a single. The next hitter, however, hit into a double play, crushing Hiroshima’s hope of building a rally.

“From around the seventh inning, I began thinking about a no-hitter,” Garcia said. “But after I gave up a hit in the eighth inning, I put it behind me and just focused on the next hitter.”

Okada left the mound after surrendering Garcia’s RBI single. The right-hander allowed six hits and three walks, while striking out two.

Reliever Hiroshi Suzuki, the Dragons’ top draft pick last fall, worked a 1-2-3 ninth to close it out.

“Garcia had more movement on his two-seam fastball and slider than we thought,” Carp batting coach Yuichiro Mukae said.

BayStars 7, Swallows 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Joe Wieland (4-5) struck out nine and allowed just a run over eight innings, and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo hit two home runs in Yokohama’s win over Tokyo Yakult.

Tsutugo’s two homers pulled him into a tie for the league lead with 21, after the Swallows’ Wladimir Balentien hit his 21st.

Giants 5, Tigers 3

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Daikan Yoh doubled in three runs in the first inning and two runs in the eighth and Yomiuri’s Scott Mathieson snuffed out a late Hanshin rally, keeping starter Cristopher Mercedes (2-0) perfect in two starts.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 12, Hawks 5

At Kitakyshu Municipal Stadium, league-leading Seibu battered Fukuoka SoftBank starter Shota Takeda (2-7) for seven runs in two innings, and Hideto Asamura drove in five runs as the Lions salvaged a win from their three-game series.

Buffaloes 3, Fighters 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Masataka Yoshida doubled in the tying run to make it 2-2 in the sixth and then scored the go-ahead run on Ryoichi Adachi’s sacrifice fly as Orix came from behind to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Eagles 6, Marines 2