Baseball: Gunkel, 3 relievers combine as Tigers shutout BayStars

Joe Gunkel allowed six singles over six innings and three relievers completed the shutout as the Hanshin Tigers beat the DeNA BayStars 1-0 on Sunday to go into the All-Star break in a tie for second in the Central League.

Gunkel (5-5), who got some big plays from his fielders, struck out four batters without issuing a walk, and Yusuke Oyama plated the game's only run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly off BayStars starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi (4-4).

"I wanted to be aggressive like I've been, throw strikes, get it down in the zone and get the ball on the ground. And we were able to get out of some jams," Gunkel said.

"We had some situations with runners on base, but the defense made the plays in front of them."

Masumi Hamachi struck out the side in the seventh before setup man Atsuki Yuasa and closer Suguru Iwazaki finished up with one scoreless inning apiece. Iwazaki earned his 22nd save.

The Tigers' third straight win moved them to .500 and into a tie for second place with the Hiroshima Carp, who lost 4-2 to the league-leading Yakult Swallows.

In the Pacific League, the Orix Buffaloes beat the league-leading SoftBank Hawks 7-4, the last-place Nippon Ham Fighters snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Lotte Marines, and the Rakuten Eagles clobbered the Seibu Lions 9-2.

© Kyodo News