FUKUOKA – Kenji Otonari went the distance on Sunday as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks completed a three-game sweep of Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte with a 2-0 win at Yahoo Dome.
Otonari allowed two hits, while walking one, hitting one and striking out nine en route to his third shutout of the year. The blanking followed a 3-0 victory started by teenage rookie Shota Takeda on Saturday.
“After Takeda pitched the way he did yesterday, I couldn’t just let my junior outpitch me,” said Otonari (7-4). “As one of the senior pitchers, it was good that I could throw a shutout.”
The Hawks took the lead against right-hander Tomohisa Otani (1-4) in the second, when Akira Nakamura led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on Hiroaki Takaya’s sacrifice fly.
The hosts, who moved to within five games of the league leaders, got an insurance run in the sixth on a single by Yuichi Honda and a one-out double by PL batting leader Nobuhiro Matsuda.
“I was intent on just doing something to further set the table, but it went for extra bases,” said the Softbank third baseman, who went 2-for-4.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Marines, who were two-hit for the second time this season.
Eagles 5, Fighters 0
At Kleenex Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten lefty Wataru Karashima (3-1) went seven innings and three relievers completed a four-hit victory of Hokkaido Nippon Ham and pushed the Golden Eagles to within a half game of the second-place Fighters.
Rakuten scored in the first without a hit. Leadoff man Ryo Hijirisawa walked, stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Teppei Tsuchiya’s sacrifice fly off Brian Wolfe (5-6).
Lions 8, Buffaloes 2
At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Esteban German drove in three runs with a pair of tie-breaking RBI singles and Seibu overwhelmed Orix in a six-run fifth inning highlighted by Hideto Asamura’s three-run triple.
Submarine right-hander Kazuhisa Makita (7-5) allowed two runs in five innings, southpaw Yusei Kikuchi pitched four scoreless innings for his first pro save, and the Lions swept the series that was shortened by rain to two games. Seibu reached .500 for the first time this season.
Dragons 3, Giants 1
At Nagoya Dome, 43-year-old Takeshi Yamasaki broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth with a two-run double and Kazuki Yoshimi (6-4) allowed a run in seven games as Chunichi earned a split of their three-game series against Central League-leading Yomiuri after the first game ended in a tie.
Giants right fielder Hisayoshi Chono threw out Hirokazu Ibata trying to score on Yamasaki’s first hit of the game, but Yomiuri starter Ryosuke Miyaguni (2-1) balked in the go-ahead run moments later. Ibata went 3-for-4 and scored a run.
Swallows 5, Tigers 2
At Koshien Stadium, Tokyo Yakult southpaw Kyohei Muranaka (5-3) went the distance for the first time this season, Lastings Milledge opened the game with a homer and cleanup hitter Kazuhiro Hatakeyama homered for the third time in four games.
Tigers starter Atsushi Nomi (5-7) gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in three innings, while the Swallows, playing without CL home run leader Wladimir Balentien, had 15 hits.
Carp 7, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, rookie right-hander Yusuke Nomura (7-3) held Yokohama to an unearned run on three hits over seven innings as Hiroshima completed a three-game sweep. Nomura improved to 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three starts against the BayStars.
Nomura also had an RBI single, while Eishin Soyogi went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, a walk and two runs to lead a Carp attack. Soyogi’s two RBIs gave him eight in the series.