CHIBA — Nagisa Arakaki finally showed the form that made him the most coveted player in last November’s amateur draft.
Arakaki went the distance — striking out nine batters and allowing just one run on six hits and a walk — for his first professional win as the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 4-1 Tuesday night in a rain-soaked contest at Chiba Marine Stadium.
Only 6,000 fans came out to watch Arakaki take on the Marines, a low number even for a weekday game in Chiba, though the rain probably kept many people home.
But there’s little doubt that Arakaki’s past performance — an 0-2 record with a bloated 5.52 ERA in his first two starts — may have taken some of the luster off the golden rookie’s reputation.
He got it back quickly. Arakaki mowed down 11 of the first 12 batters he faced and only let two runners past second base.
Tadahito Iguchi and Kenji Jojima both chipped in with RBI singles in the first inning to give Arakaki all the run support he would need. Pedro Valdes added two insurance runs with a sacrifice fly in the first and an RBI double in the eighth.
“Arakaki was pitching today so I wanted to get him relaxed early in the game so it was good we scored early. I hope he stays in there and we are ready to help him out,” said Iguchi.
Marines lefty Koji Takagi (0-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs in four innings.
Buffs keep lead
Right-hander Kevin Beirne scattered four hits over the distance for his second win in his third start to carry the Pacific League-leading Kintetsu Buffaloes over the defending PL champion Seibu Lions 2-0 at Osaka Dome on Tuesday.
Beirne (2-1) went the distance on 135 pitches, striking out three and walking none. He hit two batters.
Kintetsu did all the scoring in the first. Naoyuki Omura led off the inning with a solo homer, and after two outs, Norihiro Nakamura belted a solo home run for his fourth dinger of the year.
Both home runs were off Lions starter Mitsutaka Goto (1-2), who limited the Buffaloes to six hits over 7-2/3 innings in a losing effort.
Fighters 6, BlueWave 4
Lefty Masaru Yoshizaki (2-0) fanned 10 batters over 5-1/3 innings while holding Orix to one run on four hits for the win as Nippon Ham beat the BlueWave at Yahoo BB Stadium. Tsutomu Ishimoto and Hichori Morimoto had three hits each for the Fighters. The BlueWave committed five fielding errors.
Dragons 4, BayStars 3
Chunichi capitalized on a fielding error to score the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as it beat Yokohama at Fujisakidai Stadium in Kumamoto.
Swallows 7, Tigers 1
Alex Ramirez homered for the second straight game and starter Kevin Hodges combined with two relievers on a six-hitter as Yakult beat Hanshin at Jingu Stadium. Hodges (1-2) gave up a run on five hits and struck out four for his first win in four tries.Ramirez had two hits, a two-run dinger in the third and an RBI double in the Swallows’ four-run fifth.
Giants 9, Carp 8
Yoshinobu Takahashi swung the big bat, going 3-for-5 — including a three-run homer — and bringing home six runs as Yomiuri edged Hiroshima at Tokyo Dome.
Yomiuri led 3-0 in the first, 5-4 in the fifth, 7-6 in the sixth before taking the lead for good in the eighth when it added two more runs on an RBI single by Takahashi and a wild pitch by Carp hurler Masaki Hayashi.
Kazuhiro Kiyohara hit his first homer of the year in the fifth — a two-run shot off Yakult hurler Alan Newman.
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