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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seibu's Ishii shuts down Tigers on two hits


TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. — Former major leaguer Kazuhisa Ishii was atypically businesslike and purposeful on the mound on Wednesday and the Hanshin Tigers suffered for it.

News photo
Masterful: Seibu's Kazuhisa Ishii was masterful against the Hanshin Tigers on Wednesday night, allowing just two hits as the Lions won 2-0. KYODO

Ishii (6-2) threw his second shutout of the season and Takeya Nakamura continued his home run rampage as the Seibu Lions beat the Hanshin Tigers 2-0 to win for the sixth time in seven games. Seibu moved three games clear of the Orix Buffaloes in the Pacific League basement.

"I'm not really a shutout kind of pitcher," said Ishii, who allowed just two hits and no walks, while striking out five. "It's not that I can't imagine doing it against certain teams. I just don't have this image of my throwing them."

With the game scoreless after three, however, Ishii seriously began considering that possibility.

"I thought that if I could keep them scoreless, than I could turn the game our way," Ishii said. "My fastball was working really well, so gradually I gained the confidence and the desire to begin going after batters from the first pitch."

Nakamura opened the scoring at Seibu Dome against Yuya Ando (2-4) with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning with his 12th homer in 21 interleague games. Two pitches later, Shogo Akiyama hit the second home run of his career.

Nakamura's 12 homers are the most in interleague since the competition switched from 36 games to 24 in 2007. Tuffy Rhodes (Orix 2007), Tony Blanco (Chunichi 2009) and Takeshi Yamasaki (Rakuten 2010) had each hit 11. The 36-game interleague mark is 16, by the Yomiuri Giants' Lee Seung Yeop in 2006.

"The number (of interleague homers) really doesn't matter to me," Nakamura said. "If I hit the ball at the right angle, it's going to go."

Those two blasts didn't knock Ando out of the game, but his next pitch, a hanging slider to Esteban German came back a bullet that struck him on the right leg near the ankle.

The right-hander was helped from the field and replaced by lefty Kosuke Kato. Ando allowed two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, while walking one and striking out two.

Hanshin's relievers allowed just three hits over 4 2/3 innings, but the train had already left the station as Ishii not only threw his 25th career complete game but his first shutout without walking a batter.

"That was the best he's been this year," said Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe of the 38-year-old.

"A lot of times he gets tired, or he walks too many guys. Tonight, there were very few weird pitches from him. It was a lot more comfortable than the score would indicate."

Giants 8, Fighters 6

At Sapporo Dome, Hisayoshi Chono and Shinnosuke Abe both hit two-run homers in a 16-hit shellacking of the Nippon Ham, and Yomiuri held off a resurgent Fighters team that rallied for six runs in the seventh and eighth, featuring Yang Dai-kang's three-run blast.

Tetsuya Utsumi (6-4) yielded just one run and six hits in seven innings, striking out four with no walks to win his ninth consecutive game in interleague. Nippon Ham's Yuki Saito (5-5) allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings and was tagged for the loss

Hawks 1, Dragons 0

At Fukuoka's Yahoo Dome, Nagisa Arakaki combined with four relievers on a two-hit shutout, and Seiichi Uchikawa hit a sacrifice fly off Kenichi Nakata (3-5) for the only run necessary as Softbank blanked Chunichi.

Arakaki (5-2) allowed a pair of singles while walking four and striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings before handing the game to the bullpen. Uchikawa plated Yuichi Honda with a fly ball to center after the second baseman led off with a triple in the opening frame.

BayStars 2, Buffaloes 1

At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, Norihiro Nakamura hit a tiebreaking solo drive with one out in the eighth inning after a Takehiro Ishikawa RBI single made it 1-1 in the third, lifting DeNA past Orix to win the battle of the cellar dwellars.

Kazumasa Kikuchi (2-1) won in relief and closer Shun Yamaguchi picked up his eighth save with a perfect ninth. Yoshihisa Hirano (3-2) took the loss for Orix, which fell 10 games below .500 to match a season worst.

Swallows 6, Eagles 5

At Sendai's Kleenex Stadium, Wladimir Balentien hit a go-ahead three-run homer off Darrell Rasner (0-1) with none out in the ninth inning, helping Yakult avoid its third loss in a row.

Ryo Hirai (2-0) worked a scoreless inning in relief and Tony Barnette picked up his 14th save. Rakuten starter Masahiro Tanaka limited the damage to three runs, despite allowing 13 hits in eight innings.

Carp 3, Marines 3 (10 innings)

At Chiba's QVC Marine Field, Tetsuya Kokubo delivered a game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning as Hiroshima rallied en route to playing out a 10-inning tie against Chiba Lotte.

Marines starter Seth Greisinger yielded just two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings. Hiroshima's Yusuke Nomura was chased after allowing three runs in four innings.

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