NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. - Yuya Yanagi went eight innings without allowing a run to help lead the Chunichi Dragons to a 5-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Saturday.
Yanagi (3-1) fanned 12 at Koshien Stadium, including six straight in the third and fourth innings, while Randy Messenger (2-3) gave up three first-inning runs that proved fatal.
The 25-year-old Yanagi scattered five hits among 31 batters and left the game unscathed, but Dominican reliever Joely Rodriguez gave up two singles in the home half of the ninth and an RBI groundout from Jefry Marte helped the Tigers avoid a shutout.
In the first inning, Messenger yielded a double to Yohei Oshima and issued a walk before Shuhei Takahashi hit a two-out, two-run double to put the Dragons on the board. Toshiki Abe drove in the third baseman on the following play to cap the three-run inning.
Takahashi added an RBI single in the eighth and Nobumasa Fukuda took reliever Shungo Fukunaga deep at the start of the ninth for insurance.
The Tigers came close to scoring in the fifth, when Ryutaro Umeno reached on an error and made it to third on a pinch-hit double from Shun Takayama. The runners were left stranded after rookie Koji Chikamoto lined out to Dragons shortstop Yota Kyoda.
Before the game, figure skaters and Hyogo Prefecture natives Kaori Sakamoto and Mai Mihara showed off a synchronized double jump and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Carp 4, BayStars 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Kris Johnson (2-3) struck out six over six scoreless innings as the Carp shut out Yokohama.
Swallows 3, Giants 1
At Tokyo Dome, the visitors did their damage in the top of the fourth, with Munetaka Murakami belting a solo homer and Kengo Ota hitting a two-RBI single.
Fighters 8, Lions 0
At Sapporo Dome, Toshihiro Sugiura (1-0) and three Hokkaido Nippon Ham pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout.
The Fighters’ Taishi Ota went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai (4-3) issued seven walks and was tagged with seven earned runs and the loss.
Hawks 4, Marines 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, back-to-back homers from Kenta Imamiya and Alfredo Despaigne helped the Hawks overturn an early deficit and end a three-game losing streak.
Lotte’s Katsuya Kakunaka reached 1,000 career hits with a sixth-inning single.
Buffaloes 6, Eagles 3
At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, the last-place Buffaloes picked up their third straight win by beating Tohoku Rakuten.
Kohei Suzuki struck out nine in seven scoreless innings but got a no-decision after Rakuten drove in three runs in the top of the eighth.
Orix responded with a five-run frame in the bottom half and Hirotoshi Masui worked the ninth for his 11th save. Kazuyuki Kaneda (1-0) earned the win in relief.