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Friday, April 22, 2011

Swallows' Tateyama hurls five-hit shutout


Staff writer

Wladimir Balentien got hit in the face with a shaving cream pie during his hero interview.

News photo
Shut 'em down: Swallows right-hander Shohei Tateyama holds the Dragons to five hits in Tokyo Yakult's 2-0 win on Thursday at Jingu Stadium. KYODO PHOTO

As for Shohei Tateyama? Well, he didn't get hit by much.

Tateyama tossed a five-hit shutout and Balentien hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to help the Tokyo Yakult Swallows finish off a three-game sweep of the Chunichi Dragons with a 2-0 win on a cloudy Thursday afternoon at Jingu Stadium.

"I saw Yoshinori throw a shutout against the Dragons," Tateyama said, referring to the three-hit shutout teammate Yoshinori Sato tossed against Chunichi on Wednesday. "Watching Yoshinori pitch gave me a good idea about the Dragons' batters."

Tateyama (1-0) struck out three, walked three and threw 123 pitches. He was rarely in trouble and induced double-play groundballs after each of his three walks.

"I had a good pace today," Tateyama said.

"Everyone was playing really well behind me," he later added.

Chunichi was held without an extra-base hit and never managed more than one hit in a single inning against Tateyama.

"His control was good," Yakult catcher Ryoji Aikawa said of Tateyama. "His forkball was really effective and he was able to get outs with it. Because his forkball was good, he was able to throw strikes and get outs with his fastball, shuuto and slider."

Balentien provided Tateyama with all the run support he needed with his two-run homer in the fourth, the only extra-base hit of the afternoon.

"I feel very good to give my pitcher a push and a couple of runs," Balentien said. "Because he was pitching very well and he needed a couple of runs to win this game."

The Swallows outfielder flashed some glove in the eighth, giving chase to Motonobu Tanishige's flyball and making the grab on the run to rob the Chunichi veteran of a sure double.

"He hit it very well and I just tried to make a play on the ball," Balentien said.

Dragons starter Yudai Kawai had a decent outing, but was tagged with the loss after allowing both runs. Kawai (0-1) gave up five hits, struck out two and walked one over five innings.

There wasn't much in the way of offense for either side, with the Swallows settling for four singles in addition to Balentien's homer and the Dragons combining to hit five singles.

Joel Guzman led the way for Chunichi at the plate, snapping a 17 at-bat hitless streak with a 2-for-3 day.



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