Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Southpaw starter Kris Johnson helps Carp extend winning streak to 11 games

Kyodo

Left-hander Kris Johnson pitched into the eighth inning and drove in a run to help the Hiroshima Carp extend their winning streak to 11 games by beating the Yomiuri Giants 7-5 on Saturday.

The Carp are now one victory shy of the franchise record for consecutive wins set in 1984, the year the Carp won their last Japan Series.

Johnson allowed four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five at Tokyo Dome. He threw four scoreless innings before yielding a solo home run to Alex Guerrero in the fifth. Johnson (4-3) had a 7-1 lead before allowing the first three batters to reach in the Giants’ four-run eighth.

“They put enough of the bat on the ball when they needed to. I kept them quiet for a while, but in the eighth inning their bats came alive,” Johnson said of the Giants’ late outburst. “You’ve got to give it to them, but we still came away with the victory.”

Johnson, who won the 2016 Sawamura Award as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher, now has 50 NPB wins under his belt after a rough start to his season.

“It’s a big feat for me, because I’ve been here for a while. Ishi (catcher Yoshiyuki Ishihara) and I have been together a lot, pretty much 99 percent of it, so most of this is his as well.

“It’s been getting better and better every start. I’ve been getting deeper into games, keeping guys off balance. It’s going in the right direction.”

Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki opened the second with a double off Cristopher Mercedes (4-3) and scored on a double play grounder. Ryosuke Kikuchi made it 2-0 in the third with his fourth home run of the season.

After striking out with a chance to drive in a run in the second inning, Johnson made amends with an RBI single in the Carp’s three-run fourth.

Xavier Batista, who homered twice in Friday night’s win over the Giants, reached base four times, scored twice and hit his 12th homer, a solo shot, in the eighth.

BayStars 6, Tigers 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Jose Lopez drove in three runs and rookie Taiga Kamichatani (2-3) pitched eight scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the ninth, but Yokohama held on for a win over Hanshin.

Dragons 10, Swallows 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Shuhei Takahashi had three of Chunichi’s 16 hits, scored twice and drove in four runs and rookie Kosuke Ito scored four runs in a rout of Tokyo Yakult.

The Swallows have lost 10 in a row.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 7, Fighters 5

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Shogo Akiyama homered twice off Hokkaido Nippon Ham starter Johnny Barbato, but Seibu starter Shinsaburo Tawata blew a five-run lead in the fifth before the Lions rallied for a win.

Marines 4, Hawks 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Ikuhiro Kiyota brought Chiba Lotte from a run down in the seventh by homering in his fourth straight game with a two-run shot in a victory over Fukuoka SoftBank.

Buffaloes 4, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Takayuki Kishi returned to the mound for Tohoku Rakuten for the first time since an Opening Day injury and allowed a run in seven innings in a loss to Orix.

Stephen Romero and Masataka Yoshida each drove in two for the Buffaloes.