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BayStars rookie pitcher Katsuki Azuma delivers banner performance against Giants

Kyodo

Rookie Katsuki Azuma allowed four hits over seven innings and two relievers completed the five-hitter as the Yokohama BayStars downed the Yomiuri Giants 6-0 on Thursday, shutting them out for the second straight night.

Azuma (8-5) earned his first win since July 20 and improved to 3-0 against the Giants. Despite working on five days’ rest after throwing 111 pitches on Saturday, the lefty walked one batter and struck out six.

“Honestly speaking, I am tired,” said Azuma, who had to pitch out of a two-out jam in the top of the first. “Recently, I’ve been giving away the first runs of the games and I really did my best to keep that from happening.”

Neftali Soto and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo each hit two home runs and both homered in the first inning off former BayStar Shun Yamaguchi (8-8). Yamaguchi gave up four runs on five hits and three walks over six innings.

“With Azuma pitching I hoped we could get him an early lead, so I’m glad I could accomplish that with a home run,” said Soto, who hit his 25th of the year, a two-run blast, in the seventh inning.

Azuma said the early runs made a big difference.

“I’m grateful to all the hitters because getting me those early runs allowed me to settle down,” said Azuma, the BayStars’ top draft pick last autumn.

Tsutsugo’s second homer, another solo shot, came leading off the sixth inning and was his 28th of the year.

Edwin Escobar worked the eighth inning for the hosts and Yoshiaki Fujioka closed it out in the ninth.

Dragons 4, Tigers 3

At Nagoya Dome, Dayan Viciedo singled home Ryosuke Hirata with one out in the ninth inning as Chunichi earned a walk-off victory against Hanshin.

Carp 9, Swallows 8

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yoshihiro Maru’s three-run home run tied it at 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth and Seiya Suzuki followed him with a sayonara blast as Hiroshima overcame a 6-0 defit to beat Tokyo Yakult.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 4, Marines 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Daiki Enokida (9-2) allowed two runs over 6-1/3 innings and Shogo Akiyama gave league-leading Seibu the lead for good against Chiba Lotte with a two-run, sixth-inning home run.

Hawks 6, Fighters 2

At Tokyo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham rookie lefty Kohei Miyadai became the second graduate of elite academic school Tokyo University to start an NPB game and the first in 51 years.

Miyadai allowed two runs over 4-2/3 innings but did not figure in the decision.

Fukuoka SoftBank broke the game open in the eighth on a pair of two-run doubles by Kenta Imamiya and Yuki Yanagita.