SAPPORO – Pinch-hitter Shinji Takahashi broke a scoreless deadlock with a bases-loaded hit in the 10th inning as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters edged the Seibu Lions 1-0 in a game highlighted by a duel between Yu Darvish and Hideaki Wakui.
Takahashi slapped an 0-2 pitch from Wakui (0-2) down the right-field line for a game-ending single at Sapporo Dome, helping the Fighters end their 19-inning scoreless streak and move back to .500 in the early season Pacific League standings.
After being held to three singles by Wakui over nine innings, the Fighters loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 10th following a Terrmel Sledge leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and two intentional walks to set up Takahashi’s heroics.
Hisashi Takeda (1-0) picked up the win after working the 10th in relief of Darvish, who allowed five hits and two walks, struck out seven and hit two batters with pitches in extending his shutout streak from the start of the season to 18 innings.
Wakui, who was sharper than Darvish through nine innings, gave up four hits, walked three — all in the 10th — while striking out six in 9 1/3 innings.
Eagles 2, Buffaloes 0
At Skymark Stadium, Hisashi Iwakuma pitched his first complete-game shutout in four seasons with a two-hitter as Tohoku Rakuten blanked Orix to win its second straight game after an 0-4 start to the season.
Iwakuma (1-0) walked none and faced two batters over the minimum, backed by an RBI single by Takeshi Yamasaki in the first inning and a solo homer from Rick Short in the seventh.
Chihiro Kaneko (1-1) took the loss after giving up two runs and eight hits in 7-2/3 innings. The Buffaloes were handed their third shutout loss just six games into the season.
NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Shun Ishikawa and Koki Hashimoto delivered key RBI hits in a fourth-inning rally Thursday as Kita Otsu upset favored Yokohama 6-2 in the National High School Invitational Tournament.
Cleanup hitter Ishikawa tied the game at 1-1 with a one-out double before Hashimoto hit a go-ahead single one out later and Yuji Kawai capped the four-run inning with a two-run double, helping the Shiga school eliminate the Kanagawa powerhouse in the second round.
Ishikawa and Junichiro Tatsuta homered to extend the lead for Kita Otsu and Kawai held Yokohama, the 2006 invitational winner, to two runs in a complete-game effort.
In other action at Koshien Stadium, Kyoto’s Heian and Ujiyamada Shogyo of Mie Prefecture also advanced to the third round.
Heian took a 3-0 lead over Seisho in the second inning on two-out RBI hits by Shohei Aratake, Keita Kono and Ken Marumoto and went on to hold off the Aichi school for a 3-2 victory.
Ujiyamada Shogyo scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally past tournament debutant Awa from Chiba Prefecture 4-3. Second baseman Naomine Kitagawa drove in the winning run.