NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Hanshin’s Kentaro Sekimoto forced across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning after former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Randy Williams hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded in the Tigers’ 3-2 sayonara win over the Seibu Lions.
Hanshin starter Atsushi Nomi (4-4) went the distance despite surrendering a pair of runs in the first inning at Koshien Stadium. The lefty allowed six hits and struck out 12 without issuing a walk or hitting a batter.
Craig Brazell tied it in the seventh, belting a homer to left-center field off Lions reliever Shuichiro Osada.
Journeyman right-hander Enrique Gonzalez (4-3) entered for the visitors in the eighth, but was ineffective. A double play got him out of trouble in the eighth after a single and two walks. His luck ran out in the ninth.
Brazell opened the ninth with his third hit. After pinch runner Yamato Maeda advanced on a wild pitch, first base was filled through an intentional walk. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners and Lions skipper Hisanobu Watanabe opted for another intentional walk. Sekimoto came on to face Randy Williams and was hit by the lefty’s second pitch.
“I’ve been playing ball a long time, but I never imagined I’d be standing on the postgame hero’s podium because I got hit by a pitch,” said Sekimoto. “I was looking for a game-winning hit, but with the bases loaded, I knew drawing a walk or getting hit would do just as well.”
Giants 2, Fighters 1
At Tokyo Dome, Masumi Hoshino (1-0) struck out two in three innings of perfect relief for his first career win, and Hayato Sakamoto broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning as Yomiuri bounced back to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
A day after having a 10-game winning streak snapped, Giants starter Yuki Koyama surrendered a run in the first only for Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe to tie it with a solo homer in the second. The hosts’ bullpen allowed just one Fighters batter to reach after the third inning.
Buffaloes 9, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Aarom Baldiris singled home Bobby Scales to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth and Lee Dae Ho followed with a two-run home run as Orix overwhelmed the hosts.
Scales, who was not re-signed by the Fighters last autumn, went 3-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly and scored the Buffaloes’ first two runs.
BayStars ace Daisuke Miura (5-2) had his worst start of the season, surrendering four runs in five innings. It was the first time this year the 38-year-old righty failed to go seven.
Dragons 6, Hawks 4
At Nagoya Dome, Takehiro Donoue’s two-run homer broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning and helped propel Chunichi over Fukuoka Softbank in a rematch of last year’s Japan Series combatants.
Dragons reliever Yuta Muto threw two innings of scoreless relief to earn his first professional victory. Kazuhiro Wada went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two doubles for Chunichi.
Eagles 4, Swallows 1
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, 18-year-old Tohoku Rakuten rookie Yoshinao Kamata (1-0) allowed a run in six-plus innings to earn his first pro win as the Eagles handed stumbling Yakult its eighth straight defeat.
Masato Nakamura’s two-run RBI double opened the scoring in the fourth off Swallows right-hander Shohei Tateyama (3-4), who allowed four runs, two earned, in five innings.
Marines 4, Carp 4 (9)
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima closer Dennis Sarfate blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead and Chiba Lotte salvaged a nine-inning tie.
Two of the three ninth-inning runs were unearned as the Carp suffered a disastrous ninth-inning blowup for the second straight home game.
Hiroshima lost its previous game at Mazda Stadium on May 20, when Nippon Ham scored five runs in the ninth.
Tokyo Yakult Swallows right-hander Yoshinori Sato is unlikely to rejoin the team for two months, the club said Sunday.
Sato’s absence will be extended after he was diagnosed on Thursday as having a chip fracture in his left tibia. He felt pain during practice in late March. A Yakult trainer said the pitcher’s normal off-field activities were unaffected and that he was playing while his condition was discussed with the team’s physician.
However, the pitcher’s only action has been in one minor league game.
“The question is how well he can pitch,” Swallows skipper Junji Ogawa said. “There’s no prospect of using him (now).”