Giants ace Sugano fires three-hitter to get back on track


Tomoyuki Sugano hurled a three-hit gem for his first interleague win this season as the Yomiuri Giants defeated the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 5-1 on Tuesday.

Sugano (7-2) yielded a combined 13 runs in his previous two starts against Pacific League teams. This time, he dominated, fanning 10 without a walk for his Central League-leading seventh victory at Tokyo Dome.

It was Yomiuri’s first home win since Sugano defeated the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on May 16. The victory also arrived on the day the team appointed a new general manager — former reliever Yoshitaka Katori — following a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak that ended last Friday.

“I’ve been miserable lately so I was determined to win one for the team today,” said Sugano, who threw 120 pitches in his fourth complete game of the year.

“It was on me that the slide lasted as long as it did. I wanted to change the tide today. … We have five more games (during this homestand) and I’m sure my teammates will step up.”

Hayato Sakamoto doubled in the opening run off Nao Higashihama (6-2) in the third. Seiji Kobayashi drove in another in the fourth with a single despite a superb play by Hawks center fielder Yuki Yanagita, who fired a bullet to the plate only to see the umpire let the run stand after replays.

In the seventh, Sugano reached on a single before scoring the Giants’ third run on Sakamoto’s base hit. A wild pitch and Casey McGehee’s double added two more runs in the frame before Sugano allowed his only run on Yuya Hasegawa’s solo shot.

Sugano yielded a one-out single and then a walk in the ninth, but struck out Akira Nakamura and Yanagita for a nervy ending to the game.

“I put myself in a tight spot at the end but Seiji (Kobayashi) trusted me and called for the fastball,” Sugano said.

Dragons 7, Fighters 5

At Nagoya Dome, Dayan Viciedo’s second homer of the day tied it at 5-5 in the sixth inning, then Alex Guerrero’s RBI double in the eighth brought in the decisive run for Chunichi against Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Chris Martin (0-1).

Tigers 7, Lions 2

At Koshien Stadium, Shunsuke Fujikawa’s two-run double put Hanshin on the scoreboard before his first homer of the season and broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth off Seibu starter Ryoma Nogami (4-6).

Takumi Akiyama (6-3) won his third straight start.

Carp 1, Buffaloes 0

At Hiroshima Prefecture’s Miyoshi Stadium, Kosuke Tanaka doubled in the game’s only run in the eighth off Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko (6-4) for CL-leading Hiroshima.

Kazuki Yabuta (6-1) outdueled Kaneko. He finished with 11 strikeouts and held the Buffaloes to three hits over eight innings.Eagles 12, Swallows 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, former big leaguer Kazuo Matsui went 3-for-3 with five RBIs as Tohoku Rakuten rapped out 15 hits in a rout of Tokyo Yakult.

Yoshinao Kamata (3-2) earned the win after yielding two unearned runs over seven innings in the PL-leading Eagles’ third straight win.

Marines 8, BayStars 1

At Yokohama Stadium, Katsuya Kakunaka singled in the first run for Chiba Lotte in the first, and Tatsuhiro Tamura slapped a bases-clearing double during a five-run sixth.

The Marines’ Ayumu Ishikawa (1-6), who worked seven strong innings, had nine strikeouts.

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