TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – Second-year southpaw Tomoyuki Kaida (1-1) held the Seibu Lions on one run over six innings to win his first career game as the Orix Buffaloes defeated the league leaders 2-1 on Wednesday.
Buffaloes cleanup hitter Lee Dae Ho had two of his team’s three hits, an RBI single and a tie-breaking solo homer in the top of the seventh.
“It feels good to get a win at last,” said Kaida, who was 0-4 as a rookie in 2012. “From the end of last season, all through the winter and up to now, I’ve been doing my best to get this win.”
In the top of the first inning, Orix’s Takayoshi Kawabata doubled with one out and scored from third on Lee’s single off Ryoma Nogami (2-1) before 10,553 at Seibu Dome.
The Lions, who were unable to cash in on scoring opportunities in the first, fifth and sixth innings against Kaida, tied it in the bottom of the sixth. Hideto Asamura belted his first homer of the season moments after the southpaw caught Esteban German stealing for the second out.
“We made a lot of mistakes on offense and if you do that, things tend to go badly,” said Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe. “We stopped everyone but Lee, and he killed us.”
The game didn’t stay tied for long, however. Lee led off the top of the seventh, got ahead in the count and belted a 3-2 fastball in the heart of the zone over the left-field fence. It was the third homer of the season for the South Korea international, who hit 24 in his 2012 debut season — when he was named the PL’s best first baseman.
Kaida, the Buffaloes’ fourth-round draft pick in 2011, allowed six hits and three walks, while striking out two. Kaida, whose fastball didn’t get as high as 140 kph, was coming off a no-decision in his most recent start, when he allowed two runs in seven innings against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
“He got by with the pitches he had and showed a lot of guts in a tough situation,” said first-year Buffaloes manager Koji Moriwaki. “When he had to make his pitch in a tight spot, he was extremely tough. This guy has what it takes to be a big winner.”
Orix right-hander Tatsuya Sato, who took over from Kaida in the seventh, made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth with two walks. Asamura ended the inning, however, when his opposite-field drive was caught at the wall by defensive substitute Shunta Goto.
Buffaloes right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the season.
Fighters 3, Marines 2
At Sapporo Dome, 2012 PL MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa (2-1) allowed two runs in seven innings to win his second straight game as Hokkaido Nippon Ham held off Chiba Lotte despite allowing the Marines 12 hits and four walks.
Cleanup hitter Michel Abreu, signed by the Fighters this spring after a monster 2012 season in Mexico, broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth, and Tomohiro Nioka followed with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly for a big insurance run.
Hawks 5, Eagles 1
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, former Chicago Cubs’ all-star Brian LaHair opened the scoring for Fukuoka Softbank with a two-run single in the sixth inning and the Hawks never trailed in their win over Tohoku Rakuten.
Former big leaguer Kazuo Matsui tripled in a run in the bottom of the inning with two outs, but it was the last hit the Eagles could muster.
Giants 8, Tigers 1
At Tokyo Dome, southpaw Toshiya Sugiuchi (1-0) allowed a run in eight innings to earn his first victory since being sidelined with shoulder trouble last September as CL-leading Yomiuri dismantled Hanshin behind four home runs.
The Giants took a three-run lead on a trio of solo homers off Jason Standridge, two by Shuichi Murata and one by Shinnosuke Abe, who homered for the second straight game. John Bowker also hit a two-run shot as the Yomiuri improved to 11-0 with one tie at Tokyo Dome this season.
Carp 1, BayStars 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, a night after blowing a one-run lead in the ninth, Kam Mickolio overcame a leadoff single and an error to record his fourth save as Hiroshima held off Yokohama.
Right-hander Kan Otake (2-1) threw seven scoreless innings for the Carp, and reliever Takeru Imamura, who figured in Tuesday’s blowup, threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Former Detroit Tiger farmhand Brad Eldred plated the only run with a first-inning sacrifice fly.