SENDAI – Lee Dae-ho scored the game’s first run and drove in the game-winner in the 10th inning as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 3-2 on Friday to extend their Pacific League lead to 2-1/2 games over the Orix Buffaloes.
Former Hawks reliever Brian Falkenborg (1-4) allowed a run on three hits to suffer the loss at Kobo Stadium and waste nine strong innings from Eagles right-hander Takahiro Norimoto.
With one out, Kenta Imamiya singled and went to second on a groundout. Falkenborg left a fastball in the heart of the zone, and Lee rifled it into center to bring home the go-ahead run.
“It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve carried my weight as the cleanup hitter,” Lee said. “I’m really happy I could get it done.
“Orix is right behind us applying pressure, so this was a big win for us.”
Lee had the game’s first hit, a leadoff single in the second against Norimoto, and scored on Yuya Hasegawa’s two-out double. Hasegawa made it a 2-0 game in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. Rookie Yuya Iida started for the Hawks and was constantly in danger, but survived five perilous innings without allowing a run.
Rakuten managed to tie it in the sixth, however, against right-hander Kim Mu-yon, who let in the first run with a wild pitch and surrendered an RBI single to Kazuo Matsui.
Closer Dennis Sarfate (6-1) worked a 1-2-3 ninth to send the game to extra-innings and earn the win. Ryota Igarashi allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the 10th, but retired the next three batters to record his second save.
Lions 5, Buffaloes 2
At Seibu Dome, Yuji Onizaki’s two-run single overturned a 2-1 deficit in Seibu’s four-run fifth inning, and Yusei Kikuchi (4-8) worked seven innings to earn his first win in 2-1/2 months and snap Orix’s winning streak at three.
Fighters 8, Marines 3
At Tokyo Dome, Sho Nakata doubled in a run in the first inning and double-duty man Shohei Otani homered for the second straight game as Hokkaido Nippon Ham whipped Chiba Lotte.
Giants 3, BayStars 0
At Yokohama Stadium, Yomiuri ace Tetsuya Utsumi (4-7) struck out 10 without issuing a walk in a five-hitter for his first shutout in two years.
Former Giants lefty Hisanori Takahashi (0-5) surrendered solo homers to Shinnosuke Abe, Shuichi Murata and Jose Lopez to take the loss for Yokohama.
Tigers 10, Swallows 5
At Koshien Stadium, Keisuke Kano hit his first homer in two years, a two-run shot in the first inning on the day he was activated, and Hanshin went on to rout Tokyo Yakult.
The Swallows had the tying run on deck with no outs when the game was called on account of rain after a seven-minute delay.
Carp 6, Dragons 5 (11)
At Nagoya Dome, Hiroshima seized the lead when Chunichi’s defense collapsed in the 11th.
A botched throw home on a come-backer brought home the go-ahead run, another scored on a wild pitch and a third on Kosuke Tanaka’s RBI single. Atsushi Fujii, who tied the game for the Dragons in the eighth with a solo homer, hit a two-run shot in the 11th but it was not enough.