SENDAI – Teenage rookie Yoshinao Kamata made quite a first impression on the home fans on Sunday.
The 18-year-old right-hander allowed one run over 6-2/3 innings as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles halted a brief losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Hiroshima Carp at Kleenex Stadium.
Kamata, the Eagles’ second draft pick last autumn, surrendered three hits, walked three and struck out eight, while hitting one batter to improve his record to 2-0 in three games.
“It feels great to win your first home game,” said Kamata, who pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by notching two crucial strikeouts.
“I was pitching thinking there was no way they were going to hit me,” he said.
Kamata retired Jun Hirose on seven pitches, getting the veteran to flail at a high 2-2 fastball.
“He’s a young pitcher with momentum and we allowed him to establish himself way too much,” said Carp skipper Kenjiro Nomura.
Rakuten opened the scoring against Bryan Bullington (2-6) with two runs in the second. Masato Nakamura opened with a single and Luis Terrero doubled. A run-scoring groundout followed, and catcher Keiji Oyama delivered a sacrifice fly.
Giants 6, Buffaloes 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, D.J. Houlton (4-4) allowed two hits over seven innings, and Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Scott Mathieson completed the shutout with one inning of relief apiece as Yomiuri overwhelmed Orix.
Yamaguchi tied a Central League record by opening the season with 24 straight scoreless appearances, tying the mark set by former major leaguer Kazuhiro Sasaki in 1998.
BayStars 7, Lions 5
At Seibu Dome, four straight run-scoring hits with two outs in the fifth inning provided the knockout blow as Yokohama overcame three Seibu home runs and BayStars ace Daisuke Miura (6-2) won his 149th career game.
Lions cleanup man Takeya Nakamura opened the scoring with a three-run shot, and added a solo shot in the eighth that brought the hosts within a run. Seibu’s Tatsuyuki Uemoto, who like Nakamura had homered the day before, blasted a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth.
Marines 5, Dragons 2
At Cibiba’s QVC Marine Field, speedy Chiba Lotte leadoff man Yoshifumi Okada had two hits and three RBIs as the Pacific League leaders completed a sweep of CL-leading Chunichi.
Yuki Karakawa (6-2) allowed two runs in five innings for the hosts, surrendering both runs on a Tony Blanco homer. Four Marines relievers each supplied a scoreless inning, with Yasuhiko Yabuta earning his 15th save.
Fighters 7, Tigers 3
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Sho Nakata hit a two-run homer in the first, tied the game 3-3 with an RBI single in the fifth and Makoto Kaneko broke the tie in the eighth with a two-run double as the Fighters completed a sweep of Hanshin.
Tomoaki Kanemoto gave the visitors the lead in the fifth with a two-run double as he became the ninth player in Japanese professional baseball history to reach 1,500 RBIs.
Swallows 5, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama homered and drove in four runs as Tokyo Yakult completed a sweep of Fukuoka Softbank.
Shohei Tateyama (4-4) allowed the PL champs to score just a run in eight innings on five hits and four walks. Lastings Milledge, whose controversial bunt single keyed a big comeback, went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.