SENDAI – Naoto Watanabe hit a walk-off infield single in the 10th inning to give the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles a 2-1 victory over the Seibu Lions on Sunday, their first win of the season after a 0-4 start.
With one out and runners on the corners in the 10th, Watanabe hit a slow roller to second baseman Yasuyuki Kataoka, who had no chance to throw home for a possible out at Kleenex Stadium.
“(Masahiro) Tanaka was pitching very well, so I wanted to end the game for him no matter what. It wasn’t a pretty one, though,” Watanabe said of his game-winning hit.
Tanaka (1-0) threw a 118-pitch complete game, allowing one run and five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
“I didn’t have a high pitch count, so I was able to go 10 innings,” Tanaka said. “I hoped to pitch as many innings as possible and keep the team in the game. I allowed them to score first, but I continued to believe the tide would turn in our favor if I could shut them down the rest of the way.”
Seibu got on the board first on an RBI triple from Tomoaki Sato in the third. Teppei Tsuchiya drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Tomoki Hoshino in the eighth.
Brian Sikorski (0-1) took the loss. Marty Brown got his first win as Rakuten’s manager.
Marines 6, Fighters 5
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Kim Tae Kyun hit a walk-off two-run single as Chiba Lotte scored three runs in the ninth inning to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka pulled Lotte within 5-4 with an RBI double, his fourth hit of the afternoon, and Kim’s bases-loaded two-out single off Hisashi Takeda (0-2) gave the Marines their fourth win in five games.
Buffaloes 4, Hawks 1
At Yahoo Dome, Keiji Obiki drove in two runs and Hiroshi Kisanuki threw one-run ball over 7 2/3 innings, leading Orix over Softbank.
Obiki singled in Orix’s first run in the second inning before adding a tiebreaking triple in the sixth off Kenji Otonari (0-1). Tomotaka Sakaguchi and So Taguchi each went 3-for-5 with an RBI.
Swallows 5, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Aaron Guiel homered and drove in two runs, Kyohei Muranaka struck out a career-high 11 in eight innings and Yakult won the season-opening series against Yomiuri two games to one.
Guiel hit a solo homer, his second in as many games, in the second inning off Shun Tono (0-1) and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in a two-run third that put Yakult ahead 3-0.
BayStars 3, Tigers 2
At Kyocera Dome, Hitoshi Fujie earned his first career win with 5 1/3 solid innings and Terrmel Sledge had an RBI single among his two hits as Yokohama avoided a three-game opening series sweep by Hanshin.
Fujie (1-0), a second-round pick in the 2008 draft, allowed just three hits before leaving with a 2-1 lead. Sledge’s run-scoring single off Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (0-1) capped a two-run third inning.
Dragons 8, Carp 7 (10)
At Nagoya Dome, Dionys Cesar singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as Chunichi came from behind three times to beat Hiroshima.
Tony Blanco hit a game-tying double with one out in the ninth before Cesar’s hit to left off Katsuhiro Nagakawa (0-1) drove home Atsushi Fujii from second base.