SENDAI – Masahiro Tanaka threw seven innings of one-run ball and got plenty of help from catcher Motohiro Shima, who drove in four runs on a pair of singles and triple as the Rakuten Eagles rolled to an 8-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes in their season home opener on Tuesday night.
The Eagles banged out 12 hits at Kleenex Stadium en route to their third consecutive win.
Tanaka (1-0), making his first start of 2013, retired the first six batters he faced before allowing a leadoff walk by Takahiro Okada in the third and leadoff man Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s RBI single the same inning. The right-hander struck out four and walked one.
“The team has been on a roll coming home to Sendai, so I wanted to keep up the momentum with my pitching tonight,” said Tanaka. “I didn’t pitch that well, but I threw hard and got a lot of help from my teammates on the field and with their bats.”
Shima brought home the opening run on a two-out line drive to center in the second, and knocked in two runs to break a 1-1 tie with a triple to right-center in the fourth.
Casey McGehee, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, drove in runners from first and second on a double down the lift-field line in the fifth before Shima put the icing on the cake for his stellar night with an RBI single to right with two outs in the fifth.
“We were really excited to be playing at home but I’m sure the fans were even more excited, so I’m glad we could get the win for them,” said Shima.
Akihisa Makida went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple in the seventh and Teppei Tsuchiya added an RBI single in the eighth. Tomoyuki Kaida (0-1) was chased after allowing three runs in four innings for the Buffaloes.
Okada had a sac fly for Orix’s second run in the ninth.
Lions 4, Hawks 1
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Dome, Yasuyuki Kataoka keyed a four-run fifth with a bases-loaded two-run single, Kazuhisa Makita (1-0) held the damage to one run and five hits in 8 2/3 innings, and Seibu downed Fukuoka Softbank to win its third in a row after dropping the season opener.
Randy Williams escaped a two-on jam in the ninth, getting Yuya Hasegawa to ground out for the save. Left-hander Kenji Otonari (0-1) yielded four runs and nine hits in six innings of the loss.
Softbank, which dropped its third in a row, managed just one run in its third straight game.
Fighters at Marines — ppd.
Swallows 5, Carp 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, lefty Kyohei Muranaka (1-0) threw 7 1/3 shutout innings in a pitching duel with Kan Otake (0-1), and Lastings Milledge drove in a pair of runs on 2-for-4 hitting as Tokyo Yakult beat Hiroshima to win its third in a row.
Tsuyoshi Ueda gave his team some breathing room with a three-run triple in a four-run ninth before Jun Hirose’s three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.
Hiroshima is winless, including one tie, in its first four games to start the season.
Tigers 4, Dragons 3
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, former major leaguer Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a single off reliever Shinji Tajima (0-1) to drive home the game-winning run in the ninth inning to lift Hanshin over Chunichi for its first walkoff victory of the season.
Lefty Atsushi Nomi yielded three runs in seven innings before Yasutomo Kubo (1-0) got the win in relief.
Giants at BayStars — ppd.