Dragons juggle rotation, get win over Giants
Chunichi skipper Morimichi Takagi played the finale of a three-game series with the Yomiuri Giants like a playoff game. It smacked of desperation, but Kazuki Yoshimi made the move pay off in a 3-1 win on Sunday at Nagoya Dome.
Yoshimi fired seven innings of one-run ball on four days’ rest, and Takeshi Yamasaki broke a 1-1 tie with fifth-inning two-run double that smooched the left-field line as the Dragons bounced back from a tough loss with their first win over Yomiuri in five games.
The 43-year-old Yamasaki, playing in place of injured Tony Blanco at first, said he was shocked to see his name in the lineup in the in the No. 4 hole.
“I thought there must have been some kind of mistake,” Yamasaki quipped during the hero interview.
Because of all the injuries, “from the sixth spot on down, it’ll be an ever-changing daily menu,” a jovial Takagi said in a TV interview.
Yoshimi (6-4), who had lost his last two starts, scattered seven hits with no walks and four K’s, was helped by a pair of late double plays before leaving. Hitoki Iwase, who had trouble missing bats in blowing the save in Saturday’s loss to the Giants, set down the side in order for his Japan-leading 27th save.
Hirokazu Ibata had three hits for the Dragons, and scored from first behind Yohei Oshima, on Yamasaki’s big double.
The Dragons are three games behind the first-place Giants.
SWALLOWS 5, TIGERS 2
Lastings Milledge and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama each homered and Hiroyasu Tanaka drove in two to help lefty Kyohei Muranaka (5-3) win his first game at Koshien Stadium as a pro as Yakult topped Hanshin.
CARP 7, BAYSTARS 1
Rookie Yosuke Nomura (7-3) scattered three hits and a walk over seven innings to help Hiroshima sweep host Yokohama.
HAWKS 2, MARINES 0
Kenji Otonari (7-4) tossed a two-hitter and Nobuhiro Matsuda, who came in batting .373 the past three weeks, had two hits and an RBI to lead SoftBank to a sweep of front-running Lotte.
The Marines have lost a season-worst six straight.
EAGLES 5, FIGHTERS 0
Rookie Wataru Karashima (3-1) returned from injury by holding Nippon Ham to three hits and a walk with six Ks over seven scoreless innings, and Shintaro Masuda had two hits and an RBI as Rakuten won the rubber game of their series at The Kleenex Box.
LIONS 8, BUFFALOES 2
Esteban German had two hits and three RBIs and Yusei Kikuchi [yes, that Yusei!] fired four innings of shutout relief for his first pro save to carry visiting Seibu past Orix and back to the .500 mark.