Giants fall to 1-5 after being shut out for 3rd time
It’s not so much that the Central League favorite Yomiuri Giants are in the cellar. It’s not that they are behind the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in the standings. It’s not even that have yet to hit a home run six games into the season.
The ginormous letdown Yomiuri fans sense stems mostly from the fact that the Giants have been blanked three times the first week of the season.
Jumpei Shinoda wriggled through seven innings -- pitching around six hits and a walk -- and two relievers helped finish off a 2-0 Hiroshima Carp win for a three-game sweep of the Giants at The Zoom. It’s the first time in 24 years that the Carp have opened their home schedule with three straight wins.
Shinoda worked on his curveball in the offseason and it helped the Carp earn their first three-game sweep of the Giants at the 4-year-old Zoom, and first against Yomiuri since 2007.
The Giants sent Opening Day starter Tetsuya Utsumi (0-2) to the mound, but he couldn’t keep the Carp off the board. His wild pitch plated the first run in the third, and Eishin Soyogi’s triple in the eighth were all the runs Hiroshima needed.
The Giants had no answers. John Bowker continued his early slump -- he has one hit in 24 at-bats with no walks and seven Ks. Yomiuri outhit the Carp 8-4, but couldn’t deliver with runners on base and scored one run in the series.
Dennis Sarfate gave up a hit but fanned two in the ninth for his first save.
DRAGONS 3, BAYSTARS 0
Soma Yamauchi worked seven scoreless innings, and Chunichi rode its shutdown bullpen to a second consecutive shutout -- a three-hitter -- at Yokohama.
Yamauchi, whose three victories last season all came against the BayStars, allowed two hits, and last year’s CL MVP Taukya Asao yielded one hit in the eighth. HItoki Iwase notched his career 315th save with a perfect ninth.
Masahiko Morino yanked his first homer of the season -- a two-run shot down the line in right in the sixth -- for all the offense the Dragons needed.
TIGERS 3, SWALLOWS 1
Craig Brazell slugged a pair of homers, giving him three in two games at Jingu Stadium, and Yuya Ando kept Yakult off the board for seven innings for his first win since Aug. 19, 2010 as Hanshin held off the Swallows.
Masanori Ishikawa (1-1), who no-hit the Giants for eight innings on Opening Day, surrendered three runs on three hits -- two of them longballs by Brazell -- over seven innings to take the loss. Wladimir Balentien had three hits, including his first homer, for the Swallows.
HAWKS 7, EAGLES 6
Seiichi Uchikawa was one of three players with three hits, including an RBI infield single that capped a four-run sixth as SoftBank got past Rakuten and avoided a sweep at Kleenex Stadium Miyagi.
Yuichi Honda had three hits and two RBIs, and Uchikawa also knocked in a run in the first to help Renyel Pinto earn in a win in his Japan debut. Brian Falkenborg worked his 34th consecutive inning without allowing a run, nailing down his third save with a perfect ninth.
FIGHTERS 3, BUFFALOES 1
Brian Wolfe tossed six inning of one-run ball in his first outing, and Yoshio Itoi doubled in a pair of runs in the first inning as Nippon Ham downed Orix at Sapporo Dome.
Sho Nakata broke his skid after going 24 consecutive plate appearances without a hit to start the season, cracking a solo blast in the eighth for insurance.