Rookie Shota Ishimine gave the Chiba Lotte Marines a win at home with a three-run homer on June 12.
Three days later, he took the show on the road.
Ishimine hit a come-from-behind two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to help the Marines slip past the Yomiuri Giants with a 3-2 win on Wednesday in front of 39,084 fans at Tokyo Dome.
“It’s the sweetest win when you’re about to lose and then turn the game around with two outs in the ninth,” Marines manager Norifumi Nishimura said.
The home run was the second of Ishimine’s short career.
“I’m not a home run hitter, but that was a great time for me to hit one,” Ishimine said.
The Marines had been held in check at the plate for much of the night, entering the ninth trailing 2-1. Tomoya Satozaki led off with a hit and was replaced by pinch runner Ryusuke Minami.
Pinch hitter Masato Watanabe attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over, but pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo’s trouble fielding the ball and subsequent throwing error left Lotte with runners on the corners.
Marines center fielder Yoshifumi Okada hit a ground ball to first that was fielded by Michihiro Ogasawara. The first baseman threw to second for an out and Hayato Sakamoto completed the double play by nailing Minami at the plate.
“With two outs and a runner on first, I was just thinking to try to keep the game going for the hitters coming up behind me,” Ishimine said.
Okada stole second with Ishimine at the plate to give Lotte a runner in scoring position.
“When Okada got to second, I was thinking base hit to tie the game and just wanted to make good contact,” Ishimine said.
Just when it seemed the Marines had fumbled away their best chance, and were down to their last strike, Ishimine put a ball in the seats to give his team a 3-2 advantage.
It’s not the first time Ishimine has produced heroics for the Marines. Earlier in the week, he hit a tiebreaking three run shot that propelled Lotte to a 5-2 win over the Hiroshima Carp.
In this game, the rookie was the only Marines player to have a better night than Okada did in center field.
The outfielder was worthy of his own personal highlight reel, making three superb plays. He made a leaping grab near the wall on one and was forced to lay out to rob the Giants of another hit late in the game.
“That’s what really won for us tonight,” Ishimine said. “His defense kept us in the game.”
Okada had a forgettable 1-for-5 night at the plate on a night he’ll be remember more for his glove than his bat.
“Okada’s three plays were huge for us, no doubt about it,” Nishimura said.
Ishimine’s homer made a winner of starter Yoshihisa Naruse (5-4), who allowed two runs on five hits over eight innings.
Albaladejo (1-2) took the loss for the second straight night. Starter Shun Tono threw 6⅔ innings of one-run ball, but didn’t factor into the decision.
Giants slugger Alex Ramirez put his team in position to win with homers in his first two at-bats. Only three Giants recorded hits with Ramirez, Yoshiyuki Kamei and Hisayoshi Chono each finishing with two.
Darvish’s streak ends
The Hanshin Tigers snapped Yu Darvish’s scoreless innings streak at 46 and went on to beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2-1 on Wednesday.
Matt Murton broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single off Darvish (8-2), who took his first loss since the April 12 opener against Seibu.
Hawks 5, Dragons 3
At Nagoya Dome, Seiichi Uchikawa had a pair of RBI singles among his three hits, Tsuyoshi Wada (6-1) pitched seven innings of one-run ball as Softbank beat Chunichi to secure the best interleague record this season.
The Hawks have won 17 of its 21 games against CL teams, losing only two and tying two.
Eagles 4, Carp 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout of the season.
Lions 8, Swallows 0
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Hideto Asamura went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs as Seibu trounced Yakult.