YOKOHAMA – Rookie right-hander Masaya Kyoyama pitched 8-2/3 strong innings and Masayuki Kuwahara scored the go-ahead run on a second-inning home run in the Yokohama BayStars’ 9-1 triumph over the Chunichi Dragons on Friday.
In front of 26,099 at Yokohama Stadium, Kyoyama (6-5) took the mound with one out in the first inning and limited the Dragons to seven hits, while striking out six. The 20-year-old surrendered his only run to the first batter he faced, Yota Kyoda, who belted a home run.
The BayStars tied it in the bottom of the inning after Yamato Maeda doubled, went to third on a groundout to second and came home on Neftali Soto’s sacrifice fly. Kuwahara homered off right-hander Ryosuke Oguma (3-4) in the following inning to give the home team the lead for good.
“We play 12 games in a row, starting today, so I wanted to give our team the momentum,” said Kuwahara, who was hitless in Yokohama’s previous four games. “I just reset my mind, and told myself that what matters most is today’s game.
“I’m glad I was able to contribute even just a bit.”
In the fourth, Oguma pitched into a bases-loaded jam after allowing a pair of hits and a walk. Hikaru Ito doubled the BayStars’ lead with an RBI single, then two runs scored on Takehiro Ishikawa’s infield single and Maeda capped the four-run inning with an RBI single.
In the fifth inning, cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo blasted a three-run homer to put the game out of reach.
Right-hander Shigeru Kaga, who announced his retirement last week, struck out Dragons leadoff man Ryosuke Hirata to draw the curtain on his nine-year career.
The 33-year-old, the Yokohama BayStar’s second pick in the 2009 draft, made his first start since 2014 and fanned Hirata on five pitches before turning the game over to Kyoyama.
With the win, the fourth-place BayStars closed in on the third-place Yomiuri Giants in the Central League standings. The Yakult Swallows are in second place behind the Hiroshima Carp.
“It was totally a team effort today. Not only Tsutsugo but the rest of the guys did their jobs today and the pitching, it was great today,” said BayStars manager Alex Ramirez.
“What an amazing performance today (from Kyoyama). He pitched tremendously, not only did he pitch great but he gave us the opportunity to save the relievers…”
Oguma allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings for his third straight loss.
Carp 7, Tigers 3
Giants at Swallows — ppd.
Lions 7, Marines 4