FUKUOKA – Yuki Karakawa worked seven innings and two relievers completed a seven-hit shutout as the Chiba Lotte Marines knocked off the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 1-0 on Sunday.
Before 37,890 at Yafuoku Dome, Karakawa (3-9) gave up four hits and a walk, while hitting a batter and striking out three. He went to the mound in the first inning with a one-run lead thanks to Alfredo Despaigne’s RBI double in the top of the inning. Despaigne’s three doubles represented half of the Marines’ hit total.
Hawks rookie Yuya Iida (2-5) allowed a run on four hits and two walks over 6-2/3 innings, while striking out six. But while the Hawks routinely threatened to score, they could not push across the tying run.
The win was Lotte’s first this season in Fukuoka in nine tries, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of a large contingent of black-shirted Marines fans in the left-field stands.
“I’m so happy to be able to go as deep in the game as I did with so many fans here despite the fact that we hadn’t won here,” Karakawa said. “I didn’t try to do anything differently, just take each inning as it came.”
Tomohisa Otani pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth, when Lee Dae-ho lined into an inning-ending double play, and closer Yuji Nishino worked around a one-out single in the ninth to record his 29th save.
Buffaloes 7, Fighters 2
At Sapporo Dome, Keiichi Hirano hit his first home run in two years, and Takahiro Okada belted a two-run shot in a three-run sixth as Orix closed the gap on league-leading Softbank to 3-1/2 games with a win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Lions 11, Eagles 2
At Seibu Dome, Takeya Nakamura drove in four runs and tied teammate Ernesto Mejia for the PL lead in homers with his 31st as Seibu starter Ryoma Nogami (8-8) allowed five hits over the distance in a win over Tohoku Rakuten that sent the Eagles into last place.
BayStars 3, Giants 0
At Tokyo Dome, Yulieski Gurriel hit a hanging curveball from hard-throwing closer Scott Mathieson (6-6) into the stands to break a scoreless tie in the ninth inning. Taketoshi Goto’s check-swing, two-run single added insurance as Yokohama bounced back from consecutive shutouts to salvage the final game of a three-game set with league-leading Yomiuri.
Tigers 5, Carp 0
At Koshien Stadium, Hiroshima wasted six scoreless innings from rookie right-hander Allen Kuri as Hanshin’s Randy Messenger (12-9) went seven innings, and was backed by late home runs from former Cubs Kosuke Fukudome and Matt Murton.
Swallows 5, Dragons 5 (12)
At Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Yakult wasted a leadoff double in the 12th inning on a botched sacrifice and left the bases loaded in a game declared a tie after 12 innings.
Chunichi tied it in the eighth inning when Masahiko Morino homered for the third straight game.