Tomoyuki Sugano threw a complete game shutout Tuesday as he steered the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants to a 6-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons.
The performance was a welcome turnaround for the Giants ace, who lasted just one inning in a 5-1 loss to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in his previous start on June 23.
The Giants slugged four home runs as manager Tatsunori Hara’s team powered its way to a third win in a row.
Sugano (8-4) struck out six, while giving up six hits and no walks en route to his first shutout and second complete game of the season.
“It was thanks to a great defensive effort from the whole team that I was able to make it through to the end,” Sugano said.
“(But) it’s just one game. We have to continue on to the next one.”
Chunichi starter Tatsuya Shimizu (2-2) took the loss, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk in his four innings.
Sugano received good early support from his offense, which scored in each of the first three innings at Tokyo Dome.
Yomiuri jumped out to an early lead when Yoshiyuki Kamei blasted Shimizu’s 1-0 fastball several rows back into the right-field stands to lead off the first inning.
The Giants doubled their advantage later in the inning when Shimizu hit Christian Villanueva with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Yoshihiro Maru drove in Sugano on a groundout to extend the lead to 3-0 in the second, before Villanueva added a solo homer to left in the third.
Chunichi skipper Tsuyoshi Yoda replaced Shimizu to start the fifth, getting an inning each out of relievers Daisuke Sobue, Keisuke Tanimoto and Toshiya Okada.
Yomiuri completed the scoring with back-to-back home runs from Hayato Sakamoto and Maru against Okada in the eighth.
Sugano secured the shutout following some nervous moments in the ninth inning.
After an error at first allowed Shuhei Takahashi to reach base, outfielder Daikan Yoh got the final out with an athletic catch at the warning track to dismiss Naomichi Donoue.
“I didn’t think it was going to fly that far,” Sugano said. “Dai thankfully came through with a nice catch.”
BayStars 4, Tigers 0
At Yokohama Stadium, Keita Sano opened the scoring with a solo home run in the third as Yokohama downed Hanshin.
Swallows 3, Carp 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, last-place Tokyo Yakult ended a three-game skid, defeating Hiroshima.
Hawks 8, Eagles 6
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, first-place Fukuoka SoftBank rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a come-from-behind win over second-place Tohoku Rakuten.
Fighters 9, Lions 1
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham racked up 18 hits in a drubbing of Seibu.
Buffaloes 6, Marines 5 (10)
Koji Oshiro hit a tie-breaking sayonara single in the 10th as Orix edged Chiba Lotte.