Nippon Ham’s Otani earns first NPB victory


A three-home run salvo helped lift Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Shohei Otani (1-0) to his first career victory, a 7-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons on Saturday afternoon.

The 18-year-old right-hander allowed Chunichi three runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Otani, whose fastest pitch reached 156 kph on the radar gun, struck out four in five innings.

The Fighters had 12 hits despite having their best-hitting right fielder, Otani, out of the batting order. Shinya Tsuruoka’s two-run homer put the Fighters ahead 2-1 in the second, and Michel Abreu’s three-run homer in the third made it 5-2.

Yang Dai-kang’s two-run shot in the sixth completed the scoring.

Marines 3, Giants 2

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Stadium, left-handed spot reliever Yasutaka Hattori saved the day for Chiba Lotte as the Marines survived with an interleague victory over Yomiuri in a battle between league leaders.

The victory was the Pacific League-leading Marines’ sixth straight, while the Giants’ fourth straight loss saw their Central League cushion shrink to half a game over the Hanshin Tigers.

With two outs and two on in the seventh inning, Hattori was brought on to face Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe but walked him. With the bases loaded the lefty stayed in and got right-handed slugger Shuichi Murata to fly out on eight pitches to end the threat.

Lotte ace Yoshihisa Naruse (6-1) got the win, allowing two runs — one earned — in 6⅓ innings. He gave up 10 hits, all singles, while striking out two and walking none. He picked up his 1,000th career strikeout in the game.

Hawks 10, Carp 1

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Hiroshima ace Kenta Maeda (5-3) left his start with back trouble as he allowed six runs — five earned — in one-third of the opening inning as Fukuoka Softbank scored 10 runs for the second consecutive day.

Yuki Yanagita’s three-run homer highlighted the hosts’ six-run first inning.

Tigers 2, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hanshin ace Atsushi Nomi (5-2) threw a one-hit shutout to outduel Orix right-hander Chihiro Kaneko (4-4), and Yamato Maeda went 3-for-3 with a two-run double in the seventh to decide it.

Nomi, who won his fourth consecutive decision, allowed just a leadoff single in the third and a two-out walk in the fourth.

BayStars 4, Eagles 3

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Yokohama rallied to beat Tohoku Rakuten and snap a five-game losing streak.

Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, the BayStars loaded the bases for Sho Aranami, whose single tied it. Tatsuhiko Kinjo added a two-out two-run single, and Noriharu Yamazaki plated the fourth run in the inning.

The Eagles’ Andruw Jones hit his third home run in two games, while teammate Casey McGehee had three of Rakuten’s eight hits.

Lions 3, Swallows 2 (10)

At Seibu Dome, Seibu earned collected its second straight walk-off triumph as captain Takumi Kuriyama singled in the winning run in the 10th inning after Tokyo Yakult tied it in the ninth to deny Takayuki Kishi a second straight complete-game victory.