CHIBA – Shunsuke Watanabe threw one-run ball over seven sharp innings, Yoshifumi Okada had a bases-clearing triple and the Chiba Lotte Marines swept the Seibu Lions in three games, closing the door in a 7-1 victory on Thursday.
Watanabe (1-0) earned his first win of the season in his second start, yielding just two hits — including a solo homer by Hiroyuki Nakajima in the fourth — and walked none at QVC Marine Field.
The Lions lost their fourth in a row.
Japan Series MVP Toshiaki Imae, batting ninth, assisted with an RBI double in a three-run third and Okada hit a ball into the pocket in left-center with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh for a 6-1 lead. Tadahito Iguchi added a run-scoring single in the same frame.
The Marines got another dazzling performance from their starting rotation, following shutouts by ace Yoshihisa Naruse and Yuki Karakawa on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fighters 4, Buffaloes 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Masaru Takeda went seven shutout innings, Sho Nakata hit a solo drive and Hokkaido Nippon Ham won its third straight on the road, blanking Orix
Takeda (2-0) allowed two hits — both singles — and struck out six with no walks, retiring the first 18 batters he faced. Alfredo Figaro (0-2) lost his second start in a row for the Buffaloes, who dropped their third straight.
Hwks 8, Eagles 3
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Seiichi Uchikawa went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Jose Ortiz and Nobuhiro Matsuda all hit solo homers as Fukuoka Softbank pounded Tohoku Rakuten.
Carp 11, BayStars 8
At Yokohama Stadium, Hiroshima outfielder Yoshihiro Maru went 4-for-5 with a game-tying solo homer and a go-ahead double, powering Hiroshima to its fifth win in a row by beating Yokohama.
Maru’s blast to right tied it at 3-3 in the fourth and he gave his team a 4-3 lead with his double to right-center off Naoyuki Shimizu (0-1) in the sixth before adding an RBI single in the seventh, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle.
Bryan Bullington (2-0) got the win and Dennis Sarfate picked up his fifth save.
Giants 3, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, harrd-throwing Yomiuri rookie Hirokazu Sawamura lived up to the hype despite some control issues, limiting the damage to one run on six hits in seven innings to earn his first win in pro baseball as Yomiuri downed Hanshin.
Sawamura (1-0) struck out six and walked two, mixing in a variety of offspeed stuff with his fastball that clocked in the low 150-kph range. Alex Ramirez had a two-run single for a 2-0 lead against Minoru Iwata (0-2) in the sixth and Hisayoshi Chono added a run-scoring double in the eighth.
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