OSAKA – Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko threw a two-hit shutout as the Buffaloes won their home opener and their fourth straight game on Friday, beating the Seibu Lions 3-0.
Pitching aggressively, Kaneko struck out 14, while hitting one batter and walking none in a 120-pitch effort. It was closer to what people expect from the right-hander, who allowed three runs on eight hits on Opening Day.
“I made trouble for the team with my lame pitching on Opening Day, and tonight I tried to make each pitch count,” Kaneko said. “I don’t normally pitch this well. I want to pitch like this about once a year.
“It would be nice if we could continue to play like this the rest of the season, but we just have to focus on each game as it comes.”
The Buffaloes, who moved into first place in the Pacific League, opened the scoring in the first against Lions right-hander Takayuki Kishi (0-2) on an RBI double by Tomotaka Sakaguchi.
“Between it being our home opener and Kaneko pitching, I felt we would win tonight,” Sakaguchi said. “We’re playing well and everyone is really concentrating.”
Yoshio Itoi singled in another run in the third, and former Lion Takuya Hara tripled in the final run of the game in the sixth.
Hideto Asamura accounted for both of the Lions’ hits with a leadoff double in the second, and a two-out single in the fourth.
Eagles 6, Hawks 3
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Japan Series champion Tohoku Rakuten broke the ice in a four-run fourth inning off Fukuoka Softbank ace Tadashi Settsu (1-1) on RBI singles from Mitsutaka Goto and Kazuo Matsui and a Ryo Hijirisawa sacrifice fly.
Right-hander Takahiro Norimoto, last season’s PL Rookie of the Year, allowed three runs in six innings to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Marines 9, Fighters2
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Chiba Lotte banged out 17 hits en route to snapping a season-opening five-game losing streak with a win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Shunichi Nemoto opened the scoring with an RBI double in the third, and rookie Seiya Inoue drove in the first run of his career with a fourth-inning double.
Marines ace Yoshihisa Naruse (1-1) allowed two runs in 5-1/3 innings to earn the victory.
Carp 2, BayStars 1 (11)
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima won its second straight game with an extra-inning sayonara home run as Eishin Soyogi ended the game in the 11th inning against Yokohama with his first homer of the year.
On Wednesday, the Carp won in the bottom of the 12th inning on Shota Dobayashi’s homer.
Giants 2, Dragons 0
At Nagoya Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano (2-0) worked eight innings and Kentaro Nishimura pitched the ninth for his second save as Yomiuri won its fourth straight game by beating Chunichi.
Itaru Hashimoto and Leslie Anderson each drove in a run for the Giants.
Swallows 5, Tigers 2
At Jingu Stadium, Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa, the 2013 CL Rookie of the Year, allowed two runs in eight innings to improve to 2-0, and Chris Carpenter got his first save in Japan as Tokyo Yakult defeated Hanshin.
Ryosuke Morioka opened the scoring against Randy Messenger (0-1) with a second-inning RBI single, and Lastings Milledge and Yuhei Nakamura each hit a two-run homer for the Swallows.