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Otani suffers first pro defeat as Marines beat Fighters

Kyodo

Tadahito Iguchi and Katsuya Kakunaka each homered in the first inning off second-year right-hander Shohei Otani, who suffered his first career defeat on Sunday as the Chiba Lotte Marines beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep at Sapporo Dome.

The 19-year-old Otani (2-1) allowed five runs in seven innings. He gave up nine hits and walked a batter, while striking out nine. Otani, who is also a left-handed hitting outfielder, is currently batting .391 in 46 at-bats. His career record on the mound fell to 5-1.

“It’s not that big a deal for me as an individual, but it means as a team we have yet to beat Lotte and I wanted to win,” Otani said.

“Physically, I feel fine, and I wasn’t fatigued at the end.”

Otani was trailing by three runs before he retired his first batter. Shota Ishimine and Daichi Suzuki opened the game with back-to-back singles before Iguchi went deep for the fifth time this season. With one out, Kakunaka also homered to make it 4-0.

“I didn’t have real good arm action,” Otani said of the forkball he hung to Iguchi that reached the seats.

Marines rookie Ayumu Ishikawa (3-1) allowed a run on four hits over eight innings to earn the win. The right-hander struck out five and walked none.

The victory lifted the Marines, who have won all six of their games against Nippon Ham this season, into third place in the Pacific League standings.

Buffaloes 4, Eagles 1

At Hotto Motto Field, Orix rookie Kazumasa Yoshida (2-0) allowed a run in six innings and the Pacific League leaders came from a run down to defeat Tohoku Rakuten. Kazunao Yamamoto tied it with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly and Ryoichi Adachi capped the three-running by singling in two more runs.

Hawks 14, Lions 3

At Yafuoku Dome, 20-hit Fukuoka Softbank came from a run down in the first inning to whip Seibu, tying it on a Yuya Hasegawa RBI single and taking the lead for good on Yuki Yanagita’s grand slam, his fourth homer of the season.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 3, Giants 0 (11)

At Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium, a duel between ace pitchers developed into a scoreless tie until Hiroshima’s Brad Eldred ended the game with a three-run, sayonara home run in the 11th off Yomiuri reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi (0-2).

Carp right-hander Ryuji Ichioka (1-0) earned his first career win against his former team. Ichioka came to the Carp in the offseason as compensation for the Giants signing of Hiroshima starting pitcher Kan Otake.

BayStars 8, Tigers 4

At Yokohama Stadium, Aarom Baldiris punished his former teammates, doubling twice and driving in four runs in Yokohama’s win over Hanshin, his first club in Japan. His Venezuelan compatriot, Guillermo Moscoso (2-2), allowed three runs in five innings to earn the win for the BayStars.

Swallows 5, Dragons 4

At Jingu Stadium, Wladimir Balentien went 3-for-3 with a walk and a two-run, eighth-inning single that lifted Tokyo Yakult to its second straight win over Chunichi.