HIROSHIMA – Nobuhiro Matsuda came a homer shy of the cycle and drove in four runs, Kenichi Nakata allowed just two runs over 7-1/3 quality innings and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks walloped the Hiroshima Carp 16-5 on Saturday afternoon.
The Central League-leading Carp lost their fourth straight while surrendering at least 10 runs for the second straight day. Softbank banged out 21 hits and moved 13 games above .500 — both season highs. The Hawks are second in the Pacific League standings.
Things got off to an ominous start in the Hawks’ seven-run first, which featured Matsuda’s two-run single and an Akira Nakamura three-run double, and only got worst in front of a partisan crowd of 31,466 in the interleague game at Mazda Stadium.
Softbank added to the insult with a four-run second, all but snuffing the life out of its opponent and rookie No. 1 draft pick Daichi Osera (5-3), who was charged with 10 runs — six earned — in one-plus inning.
Nakata (6-3) scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked one. Yuito Mori and lefty Shinya Kayama got the final five outs of the ballgame.
Brad Eldred hit a second-inning leadoff blast after Hiroshima’s first two nightmare innings. It was his CL-best 19th of the season.
The Carp picked up four runs in the last two innings, featuring a Takahiro Iwamoto three-run shot in the ninth, but it was little consolation in the Carp’s embarrassment at home.
Buffaloes 4, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, No. 2 draft pick Daiki Tomei (2-0) pitched one-run ball over five innings to win his first decision as a starter, Takahiro Okada had an RBI single and Orix beat Hanshin for the second day in a row.
Minoru Iwata (4-2) was tagged for the loss.
Dragons 6, Eagles 3
At Nagoya Dome, Daisuke Yamai limited the damage to one unearned run over seven effective innings, Hitoki Iwase completed a four-pitcher relay to earn his 10th save and Chunichi beat Tohoku Rakuten to return to .500.
The Eagles, whose skipper Senichi Hoshino has taken an indefinite leave due to chronic back pain, lost their third in a row.
Lions 3, Giants 1
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri wasted a chance to move into first place in the CL as the PL’s pitcher of the month for May, Takayuki Kishi (7-2), held the hosts to a run in five innings.
Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe hit his 333rd career home run, moving him past former teammate Hideki Matsui on Japan’s career home run list.
Fighters at BayStars — ppd.
Marines at Swallows — ppd.