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Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011

Tigers edge Giants in road trip opener


Staff writer

The Hanshin Tigers won't be going back to Koshien Stadium for a long time.

News photo
Tough as nails: Tigers pitcher Atsushi Nomi delivers a pitch to the Giants at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday. Nomi tossed seven scoreless innings as Hanshin defeated Yomiuri 2-1. KYODO

If the rest of their long road trip goes the way the first game did, life on the road might not be so bad.

Atsushi Nomi was solid on the mound and the Tigers pounced on a pair of Yomiuri errors in the fourth inning to earn a 2-1 win on Tuesday at Tokyo Dome in front of a crowd of 42,668.

"It's always special to pitch in Tokyo Dome, and with all the Tigers fans here, it is almost like a home game," Nomi said.

The Tigers are off to a positive start as they begin their annual shi no rodo (road trip of death), during which they are displaced while the National High School Baseball Championship takes place at their home stadium.

Hanshin won't return to Koshien until Aug. 26. In the meantime, they made themselves at home in the Big Egg.

"This was a good start," Nomi said. "It will be great if we can sweep this series against the Giants."

Nomi (5-7) struck out eight and allowed six hits over seven scoreless innings. He's lost just once in his last eight starts against Yomiuri.

The victory was his first since a win over the Yokohama BayStars on July 3.

"It feels good to get a victory after going that long without one," Nomi said.

Reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi worked the eighth for Hanshin and gave up a solo homer to Yoshinobu Takahashi. With two outs in the inning, Kobayashi allowed the potential tying run to reach third but struck out pinch hitter Yoshitomo Tani to end the threat.

Closer Kyuji Fujikawa retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his 22nd save.

Tigers infielder Takahiro Arai was 2-for-4 at the plate, and Kentaro Sekimoto was credited with the team's lone RBI.

Hanshin scored its two runs in the fourth inning. Keiichi Hirano singled to lead off the frame and later went to second on an error by pitcher Dicky Gonzalez. Arai sent him to third with a single, and he scored on Sekimoto's RBI groundout.

Arai came around to score from second after center fielder Hisayoshi Chono made an error on a ball hit by Tomoaki Kanemoto.

"The fourth inning was the key to tonight's game," Tigers manager Akinobu Mayumi said.

"We were able to score those two runs and also get out of that jam in the bottom of the fifth," he continued, referring to the Giants putting runners on first and second with no outs in that frame.

The Tigers escaped that situation when Saburo Omura popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt and Chono hit into a 5-3 double play to end the threat.

"That was huge," Mayumi said.

Gonzalez took the loss for Yomiuri, allowing a pair of unearned runs on six hits. Gonzalez (1-3) struck out six and walked one.

Takahashi had the best night at the plate for either team, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Maeda blanks BayStars

KYODO

Yokohama — Kenta Maeda threw a three-hitter in his first shutout of the season, lifting the Hiroshima Carp to a 2-0 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Tuesday.

Maeda (6-7) struck out four and walked one in a 124-pitch outing. Jun Hirose and Masato Akamatsu had a run-scoring single and a sac fly off Kentaro Takasaki (4-8) in the first and sixth, respectively.

Swallows 1, Dragons 0

At Nagoya Dome, Masanori Ishikawa (6-5) pitched in and out of trouble over eighth scoreless innings and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama delivered a sacrifice fly with one out in the third as Tokyo Yakult beat Chunichi.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Eagles 4, Lions 1

At Sendai's Kleenex Stadium, Yosuke Takasu had a tiebreaking RBI single and Masato Nakamura padded the lead with a two-run single in the sixth inning as Tohoku Rakuten downed last-place Seibu.

Takahiro Shiomi (4-5) tossed his second complete game of the year on five-hit ball. He struck out eight and walked one. Hideaki Wakui (5-8) took the loss.

Marines 3, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, pinch hitter Takahito Kudo hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth leading Chiba Lotte over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Buffaloes 6, Hawks 2

At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, Mitsutaka Goto hit a game-tying two-run homer and Lee Seung Yeop followed with a go-ahead double in the seventh as Orix beat Fukuoka Softbank.



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