Second-year right-hander Takahiro Norimoto sparkled in an interleague rematch of last year’s Japan Series combatants, throwing a three-hitter as the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles defeated the Yomiuri Giants 4-0 on Wednesday.
Norimoto (6-3) held the hosts hitless at Tokyo Dome for 5⅔ innings before Daisuke Nakai singled in the sixth with the Giants already trailing by four. Norimoto walked one and struck out seven.
“At the start of the game, I thought I had a chance to do well tonight,” said Norimoto. “I wasn’t thinking too much about throwing a no-hitter. I’m glad I could stop them after that.”
The Eagles were playing their first game under pitching coach Yoshinori Sato, who is in charge while manager Senichi Hoshino is out with serious back trouble.
“He (Hoshino) would be angry with me about giving up hits, but he would be happy with the end result,” said Norimoto. “I went out there tonight to topple the Giants, which is what he would have wanted.”
Norimoto, last year’s Pacific League rookie of the year, has three shutouts this season and two in his last two starts for the Japan Series champs.
Sato said, “He had good command of his fastball and he got into a great rhythm.”
Motohiro Shima singled in the game’s first run in the fourth inning against Kan Otake (5-3), who hit former Giant John Bowker to open the fifth before surrendering a two-run homer to Tetsuro Nishida.
Bowker, who was not re-signed last winter after two seasons with Yomiuri, singled in an insurance run in the sixth. Otake allowed four runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batsman, while striking out two.
Dragons 1, Buffaloes 0
At Nagoya Dome, Yudai Ono (3-3) scattered six hits and three walks over 7⅔ innings as Chunichi defeated Orix, while Yuki Nishi fell to 8-1 in nine starts despite allowing three hits and no walks in eight innings. The game’s only run came after two were down in the seventh, when Masahiko Morino doubled and scored on Hector Luna’s single.
Lions 7, Tigers 5
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Seibu overcame a one-run deficit in the ninth inning against Hanshin closer Oh Seung-hwan (1-1) in a defensive meltdown. A single, and a walk set the table and Oh’s errant throw allowed the tying run to score. A wild pitch plated the go-ahead run and Ernesto Mejia doubled in an insurance run.
Marines 6, Carp 5
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Craig Brazell put Lotte in front with a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning off Katsuhiro Nagakawa (1-2) as Chiba Lotte overcame a four-run deficit to defeat CL-leading Hiroshima.
Fighters 4, Swallows 4 (12)
Hawks 6, BayStars 4 (11)