Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Zoilo Almonte ignites red-hot Dragons in triumph over BayStars

Chunichi extends winning streak to eight games

Kyodo

Zoilo Almonte went 4-for-4 and doubled in the go-ahead run as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Yokohama BayStars 7-3 on Thursday.

By winning eight straight games for the first time in 10 years, the Dragons moved into a tie with the BayStars for second place in the Central League, 10 games behind the Yomiuri Giants.

With the game tied 1-1 after four innings, Yokohama starter Shota Imanaga allowed a one-out infield single and hit a batter to bring Almonte to the plate in the top of the fifth. He drove a low fastball that center fielder Kazuki Kamizato misjudged and was unable to haul in, scoring a run and putting Chunichi ahead for good.

“I’m happy to repay the fans for their support with this win,” Almonte said through an interpreter. “It was a team effort.”

Almonte singled in the first, assisting in the Dragons’ run, scored by Yohei Oshima on a sacrifice fly. Oshima scored in the fourth, and extended the lead in the eighth with a two-run single.

Chunichi lefty Enny Romero (6-6) allowed three runs over six-plus innings. He walked four, allowed five hits and struck out four.

Imanaga (8-5) was charged with five runs — three earned — on seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman. The lefty struck out six.

“(To throw) 112 pitches in five innings is not the usual Imanaga and unfortunately we could not come back from that,” BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said. “We made a couple of mistakes and we lost our momentum. We didn’t hit sometimes and that’s part of the game.”