Baseball: Akiyama throws 7 shutout innings to end Hanshin's skid

© Kyodo News

Takumi Akiyama tossed seven innings of four-hit ball as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers snapped their three-game losing skid with a 2-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons on Sunday.

Akiyama (9-4) struck out five and walked one to win his third straight decision, outpitching Chunichi starter Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-6) who gave up two runs over eight innings.

"I was determined to end the team's skid and focused on making a good start," said Akiyama, who allowed one hit through the first four innings.

"I tried to pitch with a good rhythm and managed to do so thanks to good pitches called by (catcher Ryutaro) Umeno and our good defense."

Mel Rojas Jr. connected on a high fastball and went deep over the right-center wall with two outs in the third at Vantelin Dome Nagoya, where the lefty Ogasawara retired the side in order in three of the first four innings.

But the Tigers scraped out another run in the sixth while barely making contact after Koji Chikamoto drew a one-out walk. With the runner going, and the shortstop covering the base, Takumu Nakano slapped the ball between third and short to put runners on the corners.

Slugger Jerry Sands' weak grounder, too slow to permit an inning-ending double play allowed Chikamoto to score from third.

Cleanup Yusuke Oyama hit the best ball of the inning off Ogasawara, but second baseman Hayato Mizowaki made a diving stop and threw him out to end the inning.

Rookie Tigers right fielder Teruaki Sato threw out Dayan Viciedo trying to stretch a seventh-inning leadoff single into a double.

Ogasawara held the Tigers to five hits and a walk while striking three but was tagged with the loss, while Suguru Iwazaki and Robert Suarez each worked a scoreless inning, the latter earning his 27th save, as the Tigers prevented a series sweep.

At Tokyo Dome, troubled new signing Sho Nakata slugged a two-run homer in a three-run seventh as the second-place Yomiuri Giants came back to secure a 4-4 tie with the DeNA BayStars.

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Takeya Nakamura went 3-for-4 with a first-inning grand slam and plated five runs as the Seibu Lions won 10-3 to end the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes' four-game winning streak. Junichiro Kishi also homered and drove in four runs.

At PayPay Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda broke an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit two-run double as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Lotte Marines 4-2.

At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-5) allowed a run over seven innings as the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Rakuten Eagles 2-1 for their first win after the Tokyo Olympics break.