The 10th time proved to be a charm.
BayStars right-hander Tom Mastny allowed a run in five innings to notch his first Japan victory as Yokohama beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4-2 at Jingu Stadium on Friday.
Mastny, 0-3 in nine previous trips to the mound, pitched out of a couple of tight spots as the BayStars improved to 7-2 over the Central League's second-place club. Mastny surrendered seven singles and hit a batter but did not walk any. He struck out three.
"I've been trying to get the first one out of the way," said the 1.98-meter Mastny, who has been adjusting to both a new country and a different role--he hadn't been in a starting rotation since 2005 in Single-A ball.
"The most important [adjustment] is staying within yourself," Mastny said. "As a reliever you...can go all out, but as a starter you have to save something."
Mastny, who has a 9-5 career record in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians, spent much of last month on the farm working on his mental game and his conditioning.
"Working my body harder," he said, "so when I get in tough situations, I'm not worried about getting tired. I wish I could have gone a couple of more innings, but the bullpen did a great job."
Three Yokohama relievers combined to hold the Swallows to a run on a walk and two hits over the last four innings, with closer Shun Yamaguchi saving it in the ninth on a day of personal tragedy.
In the morning, the baseball team bus of his alma mater, Oita's Yanagaura High School, turned over in a crash that took the life of one student and left 42 others injured.
"I didn't believe it at first, and when someone called me, I thought it wasn't that bad," Yamaguchi said. "But when I turned on the TV, I realized how bad it was."
Yamaguchi, who had given up a sayonara homer in his last outing on July 8, issued a leadoff walk in the ninth but stranded the runner to notch his ninth save. The BayStars had also lost Friday to a sayonara homer.
"This [the tragedy] is something you can't just get over," he said. "But no matter what, when somebody beats you, you have to come back the next time and get the job done."
Mastny, who had alternated between really bad starts and very good ones when the BayStars didn't score, put it together on a night when his teammates put some runs on the board against teenage All-Star Yoshinori Sato (5-5).
The Swallows' 19-year-old, who had won his last three starts, fell to 0-3 against Yokohama this year. He gave up three runs in seven innings on eight hits and two walks.
The BayStars took advantage of a two-out walk to take the lead in the third inning. Sato walked Yuki Yoshimura, surrendered a flair single to left, and Seiichi Uchikawa singled Yoshimura home.
The visitors added two more in the fifth. Shuichi Murata pushed across one run with the 'Stars' third straight one-out single in the inning. Another scored on Dan Johnson's groundout to second.
The Swallows, who loaded the bases in vain with one out in the fourth, finally scored in the bottom of the fifth against Mastny but couldn't mount a rally.