Forty-year-old ace Daisuke Miura threw seven innings on Thursday night to win his fifth straight start as the DeNA BayStars beat the third-place Hiroshima Carp 3-0.
Miura (5-4) allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out three. He was fortunate to leave the mound with the lead in the seventh, when pinch hitter Soichiro Amaya drove him to the warning track with two on and two outs.
The BayStars victory before 21,168 at Yokohama Stadium snapped a three-game losing streak. The Carp had won four in a row, but the defeat dropped them three games back in the Central League pennant race behind the first-place Yomiuri Giants.
"The guys made the plays behind me and I had a little luck," said Miura, who has now allowed three runs, two earned, in his last 36 innings after starting the season 0-4 and spending a month with the farm team.
"I've just been diligent in doing the things that need doing, and I was able to get outs. From the standpoint of the final score, I'm happy."
Carp starter Yuya Fukui (3-2) allowed two runs, one earned, before he was lifted for a pinch hitter after four innings. Although he allowed just two hits and a walk while hitting a batter, Fukui was hardly an unlucky loser. The right-hander made a first-inning error that led to one run and his fourth-inning wild pitch assisted in another.
DeNA captain Takehiro Ishikawa drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, and Fukui's error on the ensuing sacrifice bunt attempt left runners on the corners with no outs. Takayuki Kajitani then delivered a sacrifice fly to open the scoring.
"I had an aggressive at-bat and think I did my job," Kajitani said.
The hosts expanded their advantage in the fourth, when Tony Blanco singled to open the inning. Fukui then hit Hitoshi Tamura and his wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Aarom Baldiris capitalized on Fukui's gifts by cashing in the lead runner with a sacrifice fly.
The BayStars' final run also came through a sacrifice, although this time on the ground. Pinch hitter Masayuki Kuwahara tripled with one out and scored on a suicide squeeze that required Toshii Kurobane to get down a bunt on a fastball high out of the strike zone.
Three BayStars relievers preserved the shutout by hurling two perfect innings. Rookie closer Tomoya Mikami got the final three outs to earn his 17th save.
"We hit a lot of balls right at guys and had some poor luck," Carp skipper Kenjiro Nomura said.
Tigers 5, Dragons 4
At Kyocera Dome, Kosuke Fukudome hit a two-run homer and Mauro Gomez's fourth-inning single broke a 2-2 tie as Hanshin came from behind to beat Chunichi behind five strong innings from rookie Kazuyuki Kaneda (4-0) who was making his starting debut.
Giants 6, Swallows 5, 11 innings
At Jingu Stadium, Yasuyuki Kataoka broke an 11th-inning tie with a solo homer after teammate Jose Lopez tied it in the bottom of the eighth with his 19th homer of the year as Yomiuri beat Yakult in a game featuring six home runs.
Buffaloes 2, Marines 0
At QVC Marine Field, Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano set a franchise record for saves in a season with his 34th as he and three other relievers completed a five-hit shutout of Lotte after 5-1/3 scoreless innings from rookie Daiki Tomei.
Fighters 9, Eagles 5
At Sapporo Dome, double-duty player Shohei Otani singled to lead off a four-run second as Nippon Ham came from two runs down to beat Rakuten. The left-handed designated hitter, who is 9-3 as a pitcher, added an RBI double in a five-run fourth.