KOBE – Tuffy Rhodes homered three times and drove in six runs to fuel the attack as the Orix Buffaloes routed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 11-3 in the Pacific League on Sunday.
Rhodes hit a solo shot to right in the fourth inning at Skymark Stadium to become the 12th player in Japanese baseball — the first foreign player ever — to reach 450 career home runs.
He reached the milestone in his 1,609th game, the second fastest pace following home run king Sadaharu Oh, who achieved the same feat in 1,559 games.
Rhodes, who matched Oh’s single-season record of 55 homers in 2001, had a three-run drive in the fifth and a two-run blast in the eighth.
Mamoru Kishida (3-0) struck out 10 and pitched seven strong innings of three-run ball with no walks. Ryo Sakakibara (0-1) took the loss.
Eagles 4, Hawks 0
At Yahoo Dome, Darrell Rasner threw six shutout innings and Takeshi Yamasaki hit a two-run homer as Tohoku Rakuten blanked Softbank and moved into a share of first with Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Rasner (2-1), formerly of the New York Yankees, allowed four hits, all singles, while striking out five and walking two. Shinichiro Koyama worked the last three innings to pick up his second save.
Yamasaki went deep to center off lefty Toshiya Sugiuchi (2-1) to highlight a three-run second. Another run scored in the fourth when center fielder Yuya Hasegawa made a throwing error on Motohiro Shima’s single.
Marines 11, Lions 5
At Seibu Dome, Saburo Omura drove in three runs and Chiba Lotte broke open the game in a five-run eighth in an 11-5 win over Seibu.
Omura had an RBI double in the first, a sacrifice fly in the third and a run-scoring single in the eighth, which also featured Benny Agbayani’s two-run triple to right-center.
Yuta Omine (1-0) limited the damage to two runs in seven effective innings. John Wasdin (0-2) was charged with four runs in four innings.
Dragons 8, Giants 0
At Tokyo Dome, left-hander Yudai Kawai threw five shutout innings in a duel against Seth Greisinger and got plenty of run support in Chunichi’s romp over Yomiuri.
Kawai (1-0) yielded four hits, struck out three and walked one. Greisinger (3-2) was charged with four runs in five innings in taking the loss.
Masahiko Morino ignited the offense with an RBI double followed by run-scoring singles by Tony Blanco and Atsushi Fujii in the first. Masahiro Araki’s two-run single made it 6-0 in the sixth.
Carp 2, Tigers 1
At Mazda Stadium, pinch hitter Go Kida had a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning, lifting Hiroshima past Hanshin.
Trailing 1-0, the Carp put runners at second and third with one out on a pair of walks and a balk before Kida singled to right off reliever Scott Atchison (1-1).
Junpei Shinoda (2-1) allowed one run in seven innings of work and Katsuhiro Nagakawa picked up his seventh save.
BayStars 6, Swallows 2
At Jingu Stadium, Yuki Yoshimura had a bases-loaded two-run single in the opening frame and Dan Johnson hit a two-run drive in the second to help Yokohama send Yakult to its fifth straight defeat.
Yoshimura’s single to right was followed by Takeshi Hosoyamada’s bases-loaded walk. One inning later, Shuichi Murata added an RBI single before Johnson went deep to right for his first homer in Japan.
Ryan Glynn (1-3) gave up two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 erratic innings. The former Hokkaido Nippon Ham right-hander walked four and hit a batter but got his first win since being acquired in the off-season. Yoshinori Sato (2-2) was saddled with the loss.
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