Fighters’ Otani pitches first career shutout


Second-year right-hander Shohei Otani threw the first shutout of his professional career on Tuesday as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Seibu Lions 3-0.

Making his sixth start of the season, the 19-year-old Otani (4-1) gave up six hits while striking out nine and walking three in a 126-pitch outing at Ocean Stadium.

“I have only ever lasted seven innings until now. I have finally done it,” said Otani.

“I get on the mound with the intention of going the distance and wanted to go all the way through to the end (today). Now I know what a complete-game shutout feels like.”

It was a career-high fourth win for Otani, who is known for his dual role of pitcher and position player, and leaves him with a 2.63 ERA. In 23 games as a position player, he is batting .390 with one home run and 12 RBIs.

Otani went 3-0 in his rookie season with the Fighters in 2013 after joining the Sapporo-based ballclub as a first-round draft pick out of Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate Prefecture.

Nippon Ham took the lead on a bases-loaded single by Kensuke Kondo in the first inning and added further runs in the seventh and eighth on RBI hits from Shota Ono and Yuji Iiyama.

Kazuhisa Makita (2-3) gave up two runs on four hits over seven frames but did not get the run support he needed as the last-place Lions slumped to their third straight loss.

Hawks 2, Marines 0

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Jason Standridge (3-2) and two relievers combined to throw a six-hit shutout against Chiba Lotte as Fukuoka Softbank, led by Nobuhiro Matsuda’s two-run shot at the plate, rolled to its third straight win.

Buffaloes 2, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Orix right-hander Yuki Nishi improved to a perfect 7-0 on the year by holding Tohoku Rakuten to six hits and two walks in eight shutout innings.

The Eagles are 0-7 against the Buffaloes this season.

Carp 2, Tigers 1 (12)

At Yonago’s Doradora Park, first-place Hiroshima walked off with victory over Hanshin thanks to Eishin Soyogi, who led off the bottom of the 12th inning with his third homer of the season that ended a 1-1 tie.

Swallows 6, Giants 4

At Iwaki Green Stadium, reliever Ryo Akiyoshi (1-3) picked up his first career win as Tokyo Yakult halted a four-game skid against Yomiuri, whose starter Toshiya Sugiuchi couldn’t make it out of the sixth inning.

Dragons 7, BayStars 2

At Hiratsuka’s Soseki Stadium, Chunichi stopped Yokohama’s winning streak at four behind seven strong innings from Daisuke Yamai (4-0), who allowed two earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks.