SAPPORO – Lefty Mitsuo Yoshikawa pitched two-run ball over five innings and rookie catcher Shota Ono hit a two-run homer as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rallied in an 8-4 preseason victory over the Chunichi Dragons on Saturday.
Yoshikawa allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two to set the pace at Sapporo Dome.
Ono went deep to left off Chunichi starter Daisuke Yamai to highlight a six-run fifth as Nippon Ham turned a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead. Former Colorado Rockies minor league infielder Tony Blanco had a solo blast among two hits for the Dragons.
In other action, right-hander Fumiya Nishiguchi struggled with his velocity in three rocky innings and Takumi Kuriyama went 3-for-4 to help the Seibu Lions down the Hanshin Tigers 7-3 at Skymark Stadium.
Nishiguchi yielded three runs on six hits, striking out one and walking one. Takahiko “G.G” Sato drove in two runs making his first appearance in the lineup this spring. Yuya Ando, a potential Opening Day starter for Hanshin, allowed five runs in four innings.
At Yokohama Stadium, Nobuhiko Matsunaka and Hitoshi Tamura both homered to back rookie right-hander Shingo Tatsumi, who limited the damage to two runs in five effective innings in the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks’ 9-4 win over the Yokohama BayStars.
Matsunaka had his first drive of the spring, hitting a two-run shot in the first inning. Tamura followed with a tiebreaking solo drive to give Softbank a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Yokohama’s Yuta Naito had a two-run homer among three hits.
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Mamoru Kishida gave up three runs, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts over six innings as the Orix Buffaloes defeated the Yomiuri Giants 6-3.
Shinji Shimoyama had a two-run double and Ikki Shimamura contributed with a run-scoring triple. Tomotaka Sakaguchi reached on two bunt singles.
At Hiroshima Stadium, lefty Junpei Shinoda pitched three scoreless innings and Eishin Soyogi drove in the sole run with a double in the first in a 1-0 shut out of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Hiroshima outfielder Masato Akamatsu went 2-for-4. Yakult lefty Lee Hei Chun surrendered one run and four hits in five innings.
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