TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – The Hanshin Tigers beat the Seibu Lions 10-5 on Sunday in a battle of pitching aces that saw precious little quality from the mound.
Tigers ace Atsushi Nomi (4-2) allowed a season-high five runs in five innings, but that was enough to win his third straight start once his teammates were done with Lions ace Hideaki Wakui.
“All the credit goes to the position players today,” Nomi said.
Trailing 5-2 in the fourth, the Tigers first four runners reached against Wakui (3-2) and all scored in a five-run inning at Seibu Dome.
Wakui allowed six runs, three earned in three-plus innings. It was the fourth time in his last five starts that the right-hander has allowed five or more runs. Wakui, who has been designated to be moved into middle relief, gave up five hits. He walked three and hit a batter, while striking out three.
The Lions opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, when Hideto Asamura led off with his fifth home run of the year. Nomi induced one ground ball after another in the inning, but the first three found holes, allowing Seibu to tack on another run on an RBI double by Jose Ortiz.
The Tigers tied it in the next half inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs. Takahiro Arai singled and Ryota Imanari doubled to get things started. After a walk loaded the bases, Akihito Fujii singled in a run. Wakui tied the game by throwing an 0-1 changeup beyond the reach of catcher Ginjiro Sumitani for a run-scoring wild pitch.
Yasuyuki Kataoka, however, recaptured the lead for the Lions with a leadoff homer in the second. Seibu scored twice more in the third on three straight two-out hits. Ortiz reached on an infield single and went to third on a double by Esteban German. Ryo Sakata then singled both home.
But while Seibu’s offense was running on schedule, Wakui couldn’t get out of the station in the top of the fourth. A leadoff walk, a flare single and an error on Wakui, while fielding a sacrifice bunt, loaded the bases with no outs. The right-hander walked Tsuyoshi Nishioka on four pitches to force in a run and earn an early shower.
Journeyman right-hander Yataro Sakamoto walked Yamato Maeda on four pitches to plate a run and then surrendered a two-run double to Tiger captain Takeshi Toritani. Matt Murton then delivered a sacrifice fly to cap the uprising as the Tigers took a 7-5 lead.
It was a frustrating day for Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe.
“When a pitcher has the kind of stuff he (Wakui) has, you want him to go after batters,” said the skipper, himself a former Lions ace. “It’s not just a bad day. What you saw is all he’s got at the moment. I could have gone to the pen earlier, but regardless of that, the guys who came in afterward didn’t show any patience either.”
With the lead in hand, Nomi held the Lions in check for two innings before checking out after five. The lefty gave up nine hits and a walk, while striking out six.
Buffaloes 2, BayStars 1
At Kyocera Dome, Kazunao Yamamoto’s first career home run broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning as Orix came from behind to defeat Yokohama behind seven innings of one-run ball from Yuki Nishi (4-2).
Yoshio Itoi tied the game with a solo shot to lead off the seventh, and Yamamoto, who began his pro career in 2009 on a developmental contract with the Yomiuri Giants, went deep with two outs off impressive BayStars rookie Kazuki Mishima (0-1).
Marines 7, Carp 0
At QVC Marines Field, Chiba Lotte right-hander Yuta Omine (2-1) allowed seven hits and three walks over the distance to blank Hiroshima for his first shutout in three years.
The Marines, who snapped a three-game losing skid, took the lead in the third inning on an RBI triple by Takashi Ogino and a two-run home run by Tadahito Iguchi. Toshiaki Imae also hit a solo homer for Lotte.
Fighters 7, Giants 3
At Sapporo Dome, Yang Dai-kang’s two-run home run brought Hokkaido Nippon Ham back from a run down in the third, and Shinya Tsuruoka’s two-run double put the Fighters in the driver’s seat in a win over Yomiuri.
Masaru Takeda (2-2) allowed three runs over seven innings for the win, while Giants ace and fellow southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi (4-1) surrendered seven runs, six earned, in 5⅔ innings of the loss.
Eagles 1, Swallows 0
At Kleenex Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten’s Satoshi Nagai (1-0) allowed four hits and no walks over eight innings, and Darryl Rasner saved the win over Tokyo Yakult in a game interrupted by rain.
Ryo Hijirisawa scored the game’s only run in the sixth inning after singling with one out. Lefty Ryosuke Yagi (1-3) issued two of his five walks in the inning to load the bases, and Yosuke Takasu delivered the run with a sacrifice fly.
Hawks 12, Dragons 4
At Fukuoka Dome, Softbank’s Seiichi Uchikawa went 5-for-5 with two doubles and six RBIs as the Hawks ended Chunichi’s reign as the only unbeaten team in interleague play.
Trailing by a run in the fourth, Toru Hosokawa tied the game with an RBI single and Uchikawa put the hosts in front with a two-run double.