Shun Yamaguchi struck out 12 batters over eight innings, doubled and scored the winning run for the Yomiuri Giants in their 8-4 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Friday.
The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits and three walks to improve to 9-2. With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, Yamaguchi was sent to the plate as the leadoff hitter. He slammed the first pitch from Shota Imanaga off the wall in left for a double at Tokyo Dome.
On the ensuing sacrifice, Yamaguchi fell down between second and third, but the BayStars were not paying attention and went for the out at first — which they failed to get.
“My batting was better than my pitching, but I need to work on my base running,” said Yamaguchi, who scored the go-ahead run when Hayato Sakamoto ripped a single between third and short.
Yoshihiro Maru followed and made it a 6-2 game with his 15th home run — after the two-time reigning CL MVP twice failed to lay down a sacrifice before he swung away at a 3-2 pitch.
Imanaga (8-4) allowed six runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out nine.
Jose Lopez gave the lefty the lead with a two-run, second-inning home run, but Yomiuri tied it in the fifth on a two-run homer by Akihiro Wakabayashi.
“It felt good coming off my bat,” the Giants second baseman said. “I’m not that strong, so I wasn’t certain it would get out. He (Imanaga) throws pretty hard, so I was only trying to make contact with the fastball.”
Lopez drove in two more runs for the BayStars in the ninth with his 17th home run.
The Giants’ sixth consecuive win moved them seven games ahead of the second-place Hiroshima Carp in the Central League standings.
Tigers 3, Carp 1
Dragons at Swallows — ppd.
Hawks 6, Buffaloes 2
At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Fukuoka SoftBank rolled to its eighth straight victory, topping Orix behind six solid innings from journeyman right-hander Akira Niho (1-1).
Marines 4, Lions 2
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Seiya Inoue broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run single as Chiba Lotte rallied to defeat Seibu.
Fighters 4, Eagles 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Sho Nakata smacked a two-run homer, while Kohei Arihara (9-4) threw seven scoreless innings in Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s triumph over Tohoku Rakuten.