CHIBA — Suspect pitching kept the Orix Buffaloes teetering on the edge of disaster during most of their game against the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Luckily, Keiji Obiki was around to save the day.
The Orix shortstop hit a solo home run to left in the top of the 10th inning and Daisuke Kato made the lead hold up in the bottom half as the Buffaloes escaped with a 4-3 victory over the Marines in front of 13,198 fans on a windy night at Chiba Marine Stadium on Tuesday.
With Orix down to its final two outs of the extra frame, Obiki went deep off reliever Brian Sikorski (2-2) to give the Buffaloes the slim advantage.
Buffaloes starter Kazuki Kondo (2-1) had an up-and-down night in his three innings on the hill, walking four and hitting a batter. He gave up three runs on four hits with a strikeout without earning a decision.
Kato (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win on a night when six Orix pitchers combined to yield nine walks.
Lotte pitcher Hiroyuki Kobayashi struck out seven in one of his best outings of the season but did not factor into the decision.
Kobayashi (0-2) gave up three runs on five hits and walked two in six innings on the mound.
Orix first baseman Greg LaRocca opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single that drove in Jared Fernandez from second.
The Marines struck back in the bottom half, taking the lead on a two-run double off the bat of designated hitter Tasuku Hashimoto.
Hashimoto drove in another run with a double in the third to make the score 3-1.
LaRocca helped the Buffaloes pull within a run in the fourth, beating the tag at the plate on a sacrifice fly from Hirotoshi Kitagawa.
The Buffaloes first baseman added an RBI double to his big night in the sixth, tying the score at 3-3.
Itoi sparks Fighters
SENDAI (Kyodo) Yoshio Itoi had a tiebreaking two-run double with two outs in the third inning and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters defeated the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 4-2 in Pacific League action on Tuesday. The teams were previously tied for first place.
Norihiro Nakamura’s run-scoring single opened the scoring in the first before Nippon Ham rallied, tying it on Eichi Koyano’s RBI double in the third at Kleenex Stadium. Itoi, whose bases-loaded double made it 3-1, added an RBI double in the fifth.
Tomoya Yagi (1-0) pitched two-run ball over five innings and Hisashi Takeda retired three in the ninth to pick up his fifth save.
Lions 5, Hawks 4
At Seibu Dome, Hiram Bocachica had a game-tying single in the sixth inning and the go-ahead run scored on second baseman Yuichi Honda’s error as Seibu scraped by Softbank.
Takayuki Kishi (4-0) picked up his fourth win in as many starts, despite allowing four runs in six innings. Kameron Loe (0-3) took the loss.
Carp 5, Giants 0
At Mazda Stadium, Kan Otake threw a six-hit shutout as Hiroshima defeated Yomiuri. Otake (1-1) struck out three and walked one in a 132-pitch outing and got his first shutout victory since Aug. 14, 2008.
Eishin Soyogi had a two-run triple with runners at the corners off Tetsuya Utsumi (0-2) to key a five-run sixth.
The Giants failed to score after collecting three hits in the sixth.
Swallows 4, Dragons 2
At Toyohashi Municipal Stadium, Jamie D’Antona had a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning as Tokyo Yakult snapped a five-game losing skid with a win over Chunichi.
Tigers 8, BayStars 4
At Okayama Prefecture’s Muscat Stadium, Takahiro Arai had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh and drove in four runs on four hits, helping power Hanshin to a win over Yokohama.
Arai hit his second two-run double of the night in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and Ryo Asai added a run-scoring single as Hanshin took a four-run lead in the frame.