Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Swallows feast on Giants pitching in rout

Tetsuto Yamada, Wladimir Balentien slug two homers apiece

Kyodo

Tetsuto Yamada and Wladimir Balentien each hit a pair of home runs, while Norichika Aoki went 4-for-4, as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows hammered the Yomiuri Giants 11-2 on Thursday.

Former major leaguer Albert Suarez got the win in his first start for the Swallows. The Venezuelan right-hander pitched six shutout innings in which he limited the Giants to three hits, while striking out four.

Veteran outfielder Aoki opened the floodgates in the bottom of the third at Jingu Stadium when he sent Yomiuri starter Tomoyuki Sugano’s 1-0 slider over the right-field wall for a two-run homer.

Yamada, the next batter, then belted the Giants ace’s pitch into the left field stands before former home run king Balentien went deep to the same section for the third homer of the inning with no outs.

The nightmare continued for Sugano, with Munetaka Murakami adding an RBI single to bring the tally for the inning to five runs.

Yomiuri skipper Tatsunori Hara pulled Sugano the following inning after he gave up another RBI, an outfield single, to Balentien.

Yamada and Balentien belted back-to-back homers again in the seventh. Yamada sent Toshiki Sakurai’s 2-2 fastball over the center-field wall with a two-run effort that scored Aoki. Balentien then blasted another 2-2 fastball from the right-hander into the stands behind left.

“When Yamada hit (another) home run, the first thing that came to mind was to go back-to-back again,” Balentien said. “It was a difficult pitch but I was able to put a good hit on it.”

The slugger praised newcomer Suarez for his successful first-up effort on the mound.

“He pitched great today. (It was) a great game in his first start,” Balentien said.

The 30-year-old Suarez in turn credited the Swallows batters for helping him earn his first win against the club’s crosstown rival.

“I was aggressive all the time and attacking the hitters, because they have good hitters, very aggressive guys, and of course the offense helped me out,” he said.

Sugano (3-2) took the loss after giving up seven earned runs on 12 hits over 3-1/3 innings.

Former big leaguer Aoki finished with three runs and two RBIs, while Balentien and Yamada both went 3-for-4 with three and four RBIs, respectively.

Tigers 5, BayStars 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Koji Chikamoto smacked a three-run homer with two out in the top of the ninth as Hanshin came back to beat Yokohama.

Carp 2, Dragons 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, a double from Tsubasa Aizawa in the bottom of the eighth got Hiroshima over the line against Chunichi.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks 3, Buffaloes 0 (10)

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Kenji Akashi hit a three-run sayonara home run in the 10th as Fukuoka SoftBank blanked Orix.

Lions 9, Marines 9 (10)

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Seibu edged Chiba Lotte on a 10th-inning RBI from Aito Takeda.

Fighters 6, Eagles 5 (12)

At Sapporo Dome, Tohoku Rakuten and Hokkaido Nippon Ham looked set for a tie until Kenshi Sugiya broke the deadlock with an RBI in the bottom of the 12th.

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