Otani survives scrapes as Fighters beat Eagles


Shohei Otani (2-0) pitched out of a series of scrapes on Sunday to work into the seventh inning and earn the victory in the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ 4-2 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Otani, a .385 hitter in 39 at-bats as a position player this season, allowed two unearned runs on eight hits and a walk before exiting after 6⅓ innings. He improved to 5-0 in his brief career.

The 19-year-old right-hander struck out five. With a one-run lead in the third, Otani surrendered a leadoff double, but got out of that jam and struck out Andruw Jones with the bases loaded in the sixth to preserve his 1-0 lead.

Shingo Ishikawa made it a 2-0 game in the seventh before a crowd of 22,187 at Kobo Stadium Miyagi with an RBI single. Kenji Sugiyama capped the rally with a two-run single.

“I don’t think I reacted that well to the pitch, but I think my will made the difference,” said Ishikawa, who was playing in just his eighth first-team game since being drafted by the Fighters in 2011.

“I’ve prepared a lot to get to the first team and stay here, and that has made the difference.”

Otani, however, could not maintain that four-run cushion in the bottom of the inning. After back-to-back singles by former big leaguers Kevin Youkilis and Kazuo Matsui, Otani walked the bases loaded. A passed ball and an error brought home the Eagles’ first runs and chased Otani.

A trio of relievers, however, kept the Eagles from doing any further damage, with right-hander Hirotoshi Masui earning his fourth save.

Lefty Wataru Karashima (2-1) allowed four runs, three earned, in seven innings to take the loss.

Marines 4, Hawks 0

At QVC Marine Field, Chiba Lotte rookie Ayumu Ishikawa (2-1) scattered four hits and four walks over eight innings and Yuji Nishino struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the shutout victory over Fukuoka Softbank. Katsuya Kakunaka opened the scoring in the fourth with a solo homer for the Marines.

Buffaloes 2, Lions 1

At Seibu Dome, Orix rookie Kazumasa Yoshida earned his first pro win, hitting the corners to hold Seibu to a run in 5⅔ innings. Keiichi Hirano and Yoshio Itoi singled and doubled, respectively, to open the fourth inning and set up the Buffaloes’ first run on a ground out. Tomotaka Sakaguchi then tripled Orix’s other run.


BayStars 12, Carp 2

At Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars amassed season highs in hits (16) and runs to snap a six-game losing streak with a win over Hiroshima ace Kenta Maeda (2-1). Guillermo Moscoso (1-2) threw six shutout innings and went 2-for-2 at the plate to earn his first victory in Japan.

Tigers 8, Swallows 7

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin overcame four solo homers by Tokyo Yakult, including a pair by Wladimir Balentien to move a season-high five games over .500. The Tigers came from two runs down in the fifth on Mauro Gomez’s bases-loaded double. Gomez went 2-for-4 with a walk and drove in five runs.

Giants 6, Dragons 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s bullpen held off a stubborn effort from Chunichi to help right-hander Kan Otake (2-1) pick up the win after he allowed three runs in 6⅔ innings. The Giants took the lead in the second inning on RBI doubles by Hisayoshi Chono and Itaru Hashimoto, and a sacrifice fly by Jose Lopez. Hashimoto went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.