Fighters star Otani cages Tigers at Koshien


Double-duty right-hander Shohei Otani lit up Koshien Stadium on Tuesday night, striking out 11 in eight innings as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters blanked the Hanshin Tigers 4-0 in interleague action.

Otani (6-1), who often plays right field for the Fighters on days when he isn’t pitching, hit 160 kph twice and another former high school sensation, outfielder Sho Nakata, homered and drove in two runs at Japan’s Mecca of high school ball in Hyogo Prefecture.

“My memories here (at Koshien) had not been good ones, but I managed to make a good one,” he said.

The only blemish on Otani’s evening was Yamato Maeda’s two-out single in the sixth inning. Maeda, however, was caught stealing to end the inning, allowing Otani to leave the mound having faced the minimum of 24 batters over eight innings.

The 11 strikeouts, in a game that was held up 22 minutes for rain, are a career high for Otani, who will turn 20 on July 5.

He left the mound briefly to seek treatment with a 1-1 count on the last batter in the eighth. Otani, who left his last start due to cramping in his right calf, returned to the to get the final out, but did not come back out in the ninth.

“I want to do whatever it takes to finish out games,” he said. “My condition was not that great tonight, but I was able to hang in there.”

Carp 6, Eagles 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yusuke Nomura (4-3) allowed a run in seven innings to win for the first time since April 22 and was backed by Brad Eldred’s 22nd home run and Rainel Rosario’s sixth in Hiroshima’s win over Tohoku Rakuten.

Dragons 6, Lions 1

At Nagoya Dome, Yudai Ono (4-3) changed speeds effectively to go the distance for the first time this season as Chunichi whipped Seibu. Yohei Oshima went 3-for-5 and singled home the Dragons’ first two runs.

BayStars 11, Marines 6

At Yokohama Stadium, Shoichi Ino (8-3) moved into a tie for the league lead in wins in a 140-pitch complete game effort as Yokohama defeated Chiba Lotte.

Buffaloes 6, Giants 5