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Marines show mettle in comeback victory

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CHIBA — The Chiba Lotte Marines squandered a two-run lead in their first game against the Seibu Lions.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Toshiaki Imae made sure they got things right the second time around.

Nishioka hit a go-ahead two-run double and Imae cranked a three-run homer as the Marines rallied to a 10-5 win over the Lions on Saturday at Chiba Marine Stadium.

“Like I said yesterday, anybody wearing a Lotte uniform never gives up,” Marines manager Bobby Valentine said. “When you’re down 3-0 in the first inning, you have to fight hard and we really fought hard and had a great team effort to win that game.”

The Marines entered the bottom of the fifth trailing 4-2 when Imae came through with a one-out single. Imae then stole second before scoring on a single by Daisuke Hayakawa.

The Marines got their third straight single courtesy of Kazuya Fukuura and Nishioka followed with a double to center that drove in a pair of runs. Nishioka stole third, then came home on a single by Tadahito Iguchi to cap the four-run frame.

“Tsuyoshi stole third and I was glad that I was able to come up with that hit,” said Iguchi, who finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Imae (2-for-3, with a homer and three RBIs), Daisuke Hayakawa (2-for-5, one RBI) Fukuura (2-for-4) and Saburo Omura (3-for-4) also had multi-hit days at the plate for Lotte.

“Iguchi got a big hit and before him Nishioka got the big hit of the game,” Valentine said. “There were a lot of big plays today. Including a defensive play by Imae, (a) stolen base by Imae and big hits by Imae.

“There were many heroes in that game. Guys that played hard and gave their best.”

Seibu first baseman Taketoshi Goto was in the starting lineup but did not play after suffering back pain prior to the game. Yoshihito Ishii pinch-hit for Goto in the first, driving in the first run of the game with a single.

G.G. Sato was the leader at the plate for the Lions, going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.

Things weren’t all good for the Marines as starter Hiroyuki Kobayashi’s season got off to a rough beginning. Kobayashi was lifted in the fifth after allowing four runs on four hits, walking five and striking out two over 4 1/3 innings.

“I thought his control was off today,” Valentine said. “I think he can improve.”

Veteran Satoru Komiyama earned the win in relief, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Kazuyuki Hoashi was charged with the loss after giving up six runs — five earned — in 4 1/3 innings. Hoashi was almost automatic against the Marines last season, saving many of his best performances for the Marines.

“I thought our determination was the difference today,” Valentine said. “Our determination was even more of a factor because he did have our number last year.”

Ishii gave the Lions an early lead with a two-out RBI single in the first inning. Sato followed with a two-run double to center to make the score 3-0.

A throwing error by Takeya Nakamura allowed Iguchi to reach second to lead off the bottom of the second inning. Iguchi advanced to third on a Tomoya Satozaki flyout and scored on a Naotaka Takehara liner up the middle.

The Marines cut the lead to 3-2 in the third on a RBI single by Iguchi which scored Fukuura from second.

Hiroyuki Nakajima followed a walk by Takumi Kuriyama with a run-scoring triple to push the lead to 4-2 in the fifth before the Marines rallied to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Omura scored on a passed ball in the sixth, but Sato kept Seibu close with his homer in the eighth.

Imae made the score 10-5 with his three-run shot to left in the bottom of the eighth.

Eagles win again

SAPPORO (Kyodo) Norihiro Nakamura and Yosuke Takasu drove in two runs apiece and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles bullpen held off the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in a 6-5 win on Saturday, giving the team two consecutive wins from Opening Day for the first time since its inaugural season in 2005.

Nakamura, who signed with Rakuten as a free agent from the Chunichi Dragons this past offseason, had a two-run double in the first. Takasu also chipped in with a two-run double followed by Ryuji Miyade’s run-scoring single for a 5-0 lead in the top of the third.

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 2

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Tuffy Rhodes had a two-run homer among his three hits and Kazuki Kondo threw seven strong innings, leading Orix over Softbank.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 5, Tigers 1

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Shinya Miyamoto went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Yoshinori Sato pitched one-run ball over six innings as Tokyo Yakult beat Hanshin.

Carp 5, Giants 3

At Tokyo Dome, Kenta Kurihara hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning and Scott Seabol added a solo blast the same frame as Hiroshima came back to beat Yomiuri for their second straight victory from Opening Day.

Dragons 6, BayStars 0

At Nagoya Dome, Kazuki Yoshimi tossed a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts, leading Chunichi to its second straight win over Yokohama.