Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Tanaka pitches Eagles into share of first place

Kyodo

Masahiro Tanaka tossed three-run ball over seven innings en route to winning his fifth straight start Wednesday as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 7-3.

Tanaka (5-0) scattered eight hits, struck out one and walked two. With the win, Rakuten regained a share of first place with Nippon Ham in the Pacific League and improved to 1-1 in the three-game set at Kleenex Stadium.

Motohiro Shima had an opposite field double to lead off the third and Ryo Hijirisawa’s infield single put runners at first and second before Naoto Watanabe walked to load the bases with none out.

Makoto Kosaka followed with a two-run single to left and Norihiro Nakamura singled into the hole in left with one out to make it 3-0. Rakuten struck again in the fourth on back-to-back squeeze bunts to extend the lead to 5-1 and Takeshi Yamasaki broke the game open with a two-run homer in the fifth.

Eiichi Koyano had a two-run double for Nippon Ham in the sixth but Rakuten’s bullpen shut down Nippon in the last two frames. Yataro Sakamoto (0-2) lasted just three innings for Nippon Ham, which saw its winning streak snapped at four games.

Lions 8, Buffaloes 3

At Kobe’s Skymark Stadium, Takeya Nakamura hit a pair of two-run homers, helping Seibu send Orix to its sixth straight defeat.

The Lions took a 2-1 lead through the second and Nakamura added a two-run blast, his first of the night and career 100th home run, in the third. Takahiko G.G. Sato had a solo shot in the fourth before Nakamura hit his PL leading 15th homer in the fifth.

Kazuhisa Ishii (2-3) yielded three runs and eight hits, striking out seven and walking three in 6-2/3 innings. Shogo Yamamoto (2-2) took the loss for Orix, which slipped into last place.

Marines 7, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kitakyushu Stadium, Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a two-run drive to highlight a five-homer attack by Lotte in a blanking of Softbank.

Yuta Omine (2-1) threw his career first shutout, allowing six hits with six strikeouts and a walk as Lotte clawed its way out of last place.

Iguchi had one of four solo blasts, including the opening run, and homered in his fourth game in a row. Left-hander Kenji Otonari (1-3) was charged with six runs in 6 1/3 innings.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

BayStars 9, Giants 8

Carp 2, Tigers 1

Swallows 7, Dragons 1