Rookie right-hander Masashi Ito worked seven innings and two relievers completed the shutout with four hits, as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers beat the Hiroshima Carp 5-0 on Saturday.
In the rain at Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima, Ito (5-4) allowed four hits, two on bases and one batter while striking out two. As the Tigers led 1-0 in the fifth, Ito was saved from a difficult situation by a double play from shortstop Takumu Nakano.
With runners in the corners and no takedowns, Nakano lined up a helicopter in the middle, and after assessing the situation, stepped on the second for strength before shooting home to nail the runner trying to score from the third.
“I was able to pull myself out of tough times today, thanks to Nakano’s defense on the one hand,” Ito said.
Jefry Marte scored three points for the visitors. His goal-laden Groundout opened the scoring in the third, and his 14th home run made it 2-0 in the seventh.
Ito allowed the carp to charge the bases with two outs in the seventh, but escaped after a visit to the mound by Tigers skipper Akihiro Yano.
“He said, ‘I’m going to go and leave it in your hands,'” Ito said. “Just these few words from the skipper really focused me, and I’m happy to have been able to meet his expectations.
Marte added an RBI single in a three-run eighth as the Tigers pulled away.
Carp rookie Haruki Omichi (3-2) was defeated after allowing a run in five innings.
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Cristopher Mercedes (4-1) worked 5 minutes without a goal in the Yomiuri Giants’ 3-1 victory over Yokoyama DeNA BayStars. Three Giants have hit solo homers, including Kazuma Okamoto, who ended up tied for the league lead with his 24th.
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Yasuhiro Ogawa (7-3) pitched a five-hitter and reserve receiver Yudai Koga had four hits and produced three runs as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, third, beat the Chunichi Dragons 5- 1 to stay four games behind. by Hanshin.
At the MetLife Dome, Sachiya Yamasaki (4-5) worked seven innings and first hitter Shuhei Fukuda scored four runs as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Saitama Seibu Lions 8-0 to extend their lead in the Pacific League to three games against Tohoku. Rakuten Golden Eagles.
At Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, Shogo Nakamura’s two-run, eighth inning home run brought the Chiba Lotte Marines from behind in a 5-3 win over the Eagles.
At Okinawa Cellular Field in Naha, Nick Martinez (6-2) allowed a run over eight innings as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 7-1.
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