Right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano pitched his sixth shutout of the season as the third-place Yomiuri Giants beat the second-place Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5-0 in the Central League on Saturday.
In front of 45,025 at Tokyo Dome, Giants ace Sugano (13-8) struck out nine of the 34 batters he faced, while allowing five hits and two walks.
He retired the first three batters he faced, and Hayato Sakamoto went on to score Yomiuri’s opening run in a three-run first inning.
Sakamoto led off with a single, advanced to third on an error and scored on Casey McGehee’s groundout to third. Hisayoshi Chono singled in two more runs off right-hander Matt Carasiti (6-3).
The Giants extended their lead in the sixth. Alex Guerrero singled in a run after Carasiti gave up back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second.
Sakamoto belted a seventh-inning, solo home run to put the game out of reach.
Yakult was unable to make use of several chances throughout the game. Sugano put them in scoring position in the second after walking Wladimir Balentien, then allowing him to advance to third. But the righty managed to strike out Yuhei Nakamura on seven pitches.
Tomotaka Sakaguchi led off the sixth inning with a double. Sugano managed to retire the next two batters but issued a walk to Balentien after Sakaguchi reached third on a groundout. But Sugano managed to retire Yuhei Takai to close the inning without any harm.
BayStars 4, Dragons 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo blasted a first-inning, three-run homer and Yamato Maeda doubled in a run in the following inning in Yokohama’s win over Chunichi.
Tigers 13, Carp 4
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin right-hander Shintaro Fujinami (4-3) pitched six innings, while Masahiro Nakatani blasted a three-run homer as the Tigers racked up six runs in the third inning against Hiroshima.
Fighters 5, Eagles 1
At Sapporo Dome, right-hander Toru Murata (6-3) gave up a run over five innings and picked up his first win since Aug. 15 as Hokkaido Nippon Ham beat Tohoku Rakuten.
Toshitake Yokoo led off the Fighters’ five-run fourth inning with his ninth homer of the season.
Lions 5, Marines 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Hotaka Yamakawa’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth turned the game around and lifted Seibu over Chiba Lotte.
The PL-leading Lions extended their winning streak to eight.
Lotte’s Kazuya Fukuura became the 52nd player in NPB history to reach the 2,000-hit milestone with an eighth-inning double off left-hander Ryuya Ogawa.
At 42 years and 9 months, Fukuura became the second-oldest player to reach the mark and only the third from his club. In 2015, the Chunichi Dragons’ Kazuhiro Wada achieved the feat when he was 42 years and 11 months.
“I’m really happy I reached 2,000 career hits at my home stadium in front of many fans,” Fukuura said in a post-game news conference.
“I went into the batter’s box determined to hit because it was going to be my last at-bat unless the game went into extra innings.”
Hawks 6, Buffaloes 4
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Orix rallied late, scoring three runs in the seventh inning, but could not get over the line against Fukuoka SoftBank.
Kodai Senga (12-6) struck out nine, picking up the win after throwing 6-2/3 innings.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5