Late rally gives Orix victory over Rakuten


Mitsutaka Goto hit a tying solo homer and Aarom Baldiris scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 5-4 on Sunday.

Goto’s towering shot to right came against Kazuo Fukumori (0-1) with one out in the ninth before Shinichiro Koyama threw a wild pitch to Koji Yamasaki with the bases loaded and two outs at Kyocera Dome.

“I just tried to get my swing in that situation after going hitless in the previous at-bats. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to be a home run,” Goto said.

“Our team won yesterday because of great pitching, so our position players wanted to step up in today’s game. I’m glad we were able to do that.”

Todd Linden hit a three-run home run in the sixth off Orix starter Hiroshi Kisanuki to put Rakuten up 4-2.

Orix pulled within a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Yamasaki. So Taguchi went 3-for-4 with a walk that loaded the bases in the ninth.

Ryota Katsuki (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth. Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka gave up three runs and 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Hawks 2, Fighters 1 (11)

At Sapporo Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the top of the 11th inning as Softbank downed Hokkaido Nippon Ham for a 2-0 start to the season.

Matsuda homered to center off Hisashi Takeda (0-1). Hiroki Kokubo delivered a game-tying double in the seventh.

Brian Falkenborg (1-0) worked a scoreless 10th. Takahiro Mahara picked up his second save in as many days.

Makoto Kaneko homered in the third for Nippon Ham but grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth.

Marines 2, Lions 1

At Seibu Dome, Shoitsu Omatsu homered and drove in two runs, Shunsuke Watanabe threw 7 2/3 effective innings and Chiba Lotte rallied to beat Seibu.

Omatsu had an RBI single in the fourth and a solo shot to right in the seventh off Kazuyuki Hoashi (0-1). Watanabe (1-0) gave up eight hits but held the Lions to one run.

Yasuhiko Yabuta closed out the ninth. Seibu stranded 11 runners.