TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. - Ken Togame waited a long time for another win at home. Actually, it’d been a while since he’d won anywhere else either.
Togame overcame a few issues with his control to throw seven solid innings, Takeya Nakamura chipped in with a home run, and the Seibu Lions beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 6-2 on Tuesday night at Seibu Prince Dome.
Togame (1-1) allowed two runs on three hits, striking out nine and walking three. He pitched well, though the homer he gave up to Haruki Nishikawa in the sixth inning was still on his mind after the game.
“I’ve given up a home run each time out,” Togame said. “I want to be a little more careful so not to give up any more.”
He hadn’t won at the Lions’ home park since July 6, 2013, and had his season cut short in 2014, when he was taken off the roster in July after complaining of hip pain.
“After I got hurt, I thought about getting my next win while I was trying to make the best of my time with the ni-gun team,” Togame said after winning for the first time since June 17, 2014.
Togame lost to the Fighters in his first start this season and threw seven innings of one-run ball the next time out against Tohoku Rakuten, but didn’t factor into the decision.
“I felt bad we couldn’t get more runs for him in the last game,” Lions manager Norio Tanabe said. “This time he pitched well and the lineup was able to score.”
Nakamura finished 3-for-4 and drove in two runs. His first RBI of the night came in slightly uncharacteristic fashion, as the heavy pull hitter drove in a run with an opposite-field single.
“I got a little lucky,” Nakamura said.
He looked more like the Okawari-kun of old in the fifth, blasting a home run, his fifth of the season, to left-center. Ahead in the count 3-0, Nakamura said he wasn’t looking for a breaking ball, just hoping for something a little up. Fighters starter Luis Mendoza obliged with a change-up he probably wishes he could take back.
“He was able to face it well and hit it in a good spot,” Tanabe said.
Hideto Asamura, Ernesto Mejia and Ginjiro Sumitani also drove in runs for the Lions.
Mendoza (1-3) shut out the Lions for eight innings in their last meeting, on April 7 at Tokyo Dome, but didn’t have the same magic this time around. On Tuesday, he lasted five-plus frames and allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out four.
He had trouble staying in the strike zone for most of his time on the mound. Mendoza walked five batters and was behind either 3-0 or 3-1 in the count against four others.
Nippon Ham managed just three hits, with only one coming after the third inning.
Nishikawa’s homer was his first of the year, and Kensuke Tanaka drove in the Fighters’ other run with an RBI single in the third.
Hawks trounce Eagles
Lee Dae-ho hit two of Fukuoka Softbank’s three home runs in support of Kenji Otonari (3-0), who yielded one run and six hits over six innings in the Hawks’ 7-1 victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Tuesday in the Pacific League.
Takahiro Shiomi (0-1) was roughed up for six runs in five innings of the loss.
Buffaloes 5, Marines 2 (12)
Dragons 3, Swallows 2
At Nagoya Dome, Anderson Hernandez and rookie catcher Iori Katsura both homered and Ryosuke Hirata drove in a run as Chunichi edged Tokyo Yakult.
Yudai Ono scattered three hits over the distance, including a close call when he allowed a two-run double by Keiji Obiki in the ninth, but the lefty earned his second win of the season in front an announced crowd of 23,681.
Hernandez led off the fifth with a drive to center and one out later, Katsura, who was making his pro debut, belted a shot to left for a 2-0 lead. Hirata added insurance with an RBI single in the eighth.
The Swallows saw their winning streak end at four games.
Giants 6, Carp 3
At Jomo Shikishima Stadium, Yomiuri took a 3-0 lead through the third inning and Itaru Hashimoto and Hayato Sakamoto hit back-to-back RBI triples for a cushion in the fifth en route to beating Hiroshima.
Yomiuri’s Toshiya Sugiuchi (2-0) yielded three runs in 5-2/3 innings.
Tigers 5, BayStars 3
At Yokohama Stadium, cleanup man Mauro Gomez drove in three runs, featuring a two-run tiebreaking double with two outs in the ninth inning as Hanshin downed Yokohama, which fell to its seventh loss in a row.
Oh Seung-hwan worked the ninth for his seventh save.