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Rook throws like a king …

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Rook throws like a king …

Sawamura sharp as Giants top Carp

The jewel of the rookie class, Hirokazu Sawamura, sparkled on Saturday at Tokyo Dome. The rook carried a shutout into the ninth and gutted out his second complete game as the Yomiuri Giants edged the Hiroshima Carp 3-1.

Sawamura, working on five days’ rest because he was KO’d from his previous start after five frames, held the floundering fish to a run on three hits and a walk with eight Ks.

He allowed four rockets in the ninth, two that went for hits, and eventually missed the shutout. That was on his mind during the on-field hero interview.

“I had kept them off the scoreboard through eight innings and [head pitching coach Kazuhisa] Kawaguchi and everyone else was hoping I could finish it off. But the fact that I couldn’t keep them off the scoreboard is proof that have more work to do,” Sawamura said.

“It would be lie to say that I wasn’t thinking about [a shutout], but when they put runners on second and third with no outs, I just thought, ‘The victory is what counts,’ and I didn’t worry about it. I got the last out after allowing the one run and I hope I can carry this into my next start.”

Sawamura said he’s just focused on being a reliable part of the rotation.

“In my first year I’m not thinking about getting shutouts. I just want to become the kind of pitcher who goes out and gets the job done when the team is struggling,” the righty said.

The Giants for the second straight game parlayed one big inning into a game-winning rally. Alex Ramirez drove in Hayato Sakamoto, who had doubled, with the first run on a sac fly in the sixth. Shinnosuke Abe, batting fifth, slugged his sixth longball with Yoshinobu Takahashi aboard and the Giants led 3-0.

Dioni Soriano (0-1), who allowed just two hits and three walks, got a quick hook with two out in the sixth inning and was charged with two runs after Takeru Imamura gave up the longball to Abe.


No. 3 batter Masahiko Morino (hitting .208) broke out of his season-long funk -- for a day, at least -- blasting his fifth homer and doubling in a run to lead Chunichi past cellar-dwelling Yokohama at Nagoya Dome.

Keiji Oyama came off the bench to collect three hits and an RBI, Hirokazu Ibata had two hits and three RBIs, and Kazuhiro Wada’s fifth-inning run-scoring single put Chunichi in the lead for good.


Randy Messenger (6-1) scattered two hits and a pair of walks over six innings to win his fourth straight decision as Hanshin blanked front-running Yakult in Akita.

Takahiro Arai’s floating double down the right-field line in the fourth broke a scoreless tie, and Takashi Toritani had two hits and an RBI to back the righty, who snared a comebacker on a line and nearly turned a triple play in the fourth.



Toshiya Sugiuchi (5-3) earned his career 100th victory in style, firing eight shutout innings, as front-running SoftBank blanked last year’s Series champion Lotte at FYJ Dome.

Nobuhiko Matsunaka cracked a two-run homer (No. 7) and Nobuhiro Matsuda (No. 14) also went deep to back the lefty, who shut down Lotte on six hits, while walking two and fanning a half-dozen. Munenori Kawasaki also stole his 250th career base for SoftBank.


Tomohiro Nioka blasted the first pinch-hit grand slam of his career and Masaru Takeda (7-5), whose record earlier this year suffered because of lack of run support, won his fifth straight decision as host Nippon Ham topped Rakuten.

Makoto Kaneko and Shota Ono went deep in the fourth before Nioka, whose career started in 1999 with the Giants, unloaded in the fifth for his first slam since April 30, 2006. It was a season high in run support for Takeda, who went 7.2 innings, scattering eight hits and a walk with five Ks.


Jose Fernandez went 4-for-4 (two infield singles) with a homer and four RBIs, and "Okawari-kun" Takeya Nakamura slugged his Japan-best 23rd homer and had three RBIs as Seibu topped Orix at home.

Hideaki Wakui (5-6) wasn’t sharp, allowing four runs -- three earned – over 5.2 innings, but got his first win since June 1 as Seibu snapped a five-game skid.

Meanwhile, Orix’s Lee Seung Yeop became the 155th player to reach 150 homers with his solo shot in the sixth.


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