Baseball: Swallows' Ishikawa retakes Japan's interleague wins record

Forty-three-year-old Masanori Ishikawa won his 28th career interleague victory Saturday when the Central League's Yakult Swallows beat the Pacific League's Seibu Lions 2-0.

Less than 24 hours after 42-year-old SoftBank Hawks southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada tied him with 27 wins in interleague, Ishikawa (2-3) allowed three hits over 5-2/3 innings and left Belluna Dome's mound with a 1-0 lead.

"I saw Wada's game. He is still throwing amazing pitches that I couldn't come close to throwing," said Ishikawa. "I just tried to keep the ball low today, and tried to get ground balls, and keep the leadoff hitters off base."

Ishikawa changed speeds as he attacked the zone over 5-2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one while allowing three hits, although Swallows fielders also robbed Seibu of three likely hits, starting with the first ball the Lions put in play.

Norichika Aoki, the Swallows' 41-year-old left fielder did well to get to a ball and rob speedy Sosuke Genda of a first-inning leadoff hit.

"Aoki doesn't have great range or a great arm, but that play was big for the team and big for Ishikawa," said Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu, whose team had lost three straight.

Lions ace Kona Takahashi (4-4) issued four walks in his seven innings, and two of those proved costly, setting the table for Yuhei Nakamura's fourth-inning RBI single.

Yakult made it 2-0 in the ninth off Jesus Tinoco, who paid the price for a two-out walk that helped set up Tetsuto Yamada's RBI double.

The Yomiuri Giants were the CL's only other interleague winners on Saturday, blasting the SoftBank Hawks 10-6, with CL home run leader Kazuma Okamoto hitting his 15th for the Giants.

Elsewhere, the two-time defending PL champion Orix Buffaloes got two home runs and four RBIs from Tomoya Mori in a 7-3 win over the DeNA BayStars. The Rakuten Eagles got past the Chunichi Dragons 1-0, while the Lotte Marines beat the Hiroshima Carp 5-4, and the Nippon Ham Fighters clipped the CL-leading Hanshin Tigers 4-3.

© Kyodo News