FUKUOKA – Jason Standridge threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday as the reigning champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks took over first place for the first time this season with a 4-1 win over the Seibu Lions.
Standridge (5-2) allowed five singles and three walks, while striking out nine, while Edison Barrios and Dennis Sarfate worked the final two innings before 35,388 at Yafuoku Dome.
Things didn’t start out well for Standridge, who had to pitch out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. But after he got a run, he raised his game, striking out five of the last six batters he faced by changing speeds and mixing up his pitches.
“The first five didn’t go the way I wanted to, but I made some good pitches to get out of innings,” Standridge said. “I just tried to go out there and do my job.
“Early on, I was a little wild, walked a couple of guys, and we did our job, scored some runs.”
The Hawks took the lead against Taiwan rookie Kuo Chun-lin (2-4) on a fifth-inning solo homer by Keizo Kawashima. Kuo was the unlucky loser for the Lions, having allowed a run on six hits, a walk and a hit batsman over seven innings. The right-hander struck out four.
Barrios struck out two of the three men he faced, and Lee Dae-ho’s three-run double gave the hosts more than enough insurance.
With one out and the outfield playing shallow, the South Korean slugger lined the first pitch he saw from Seibu setup man Tatsushi Masuda to the opposite field and found the gap in right to clear the bases.
Lions slugger Takeya Nakamura opened the ninth against his former Seibu teammate Sarfate by belting his ninth homer of the season. Sarfate, however, had the last laugh by striking out two of the last three batters he faced.
The Lions, who fell out of first place, have lost three straight decisions for the first time this season.
Eagles 3, Marines 2
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Takahiro Norimoto (2-4) scattered 10 hits and two walks over the distance to earn his first win in a month as Tohoku Rakuten overturned a 2-1 deficit in the eighth to beat Chiba Lotte.
Fighters 5, Buffaloes 2
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Brandon Laird broke the ice with a three-run, fourth-inning home run and Naoyuki Uwasawa (3-4) allowed two runs in 6-2/3 innings against Orix.
Swallows 2, Giants 0
At Tokyo Dome, Taichi Ishiyama (3-3) went six innings, and four relievers completed a six-hit shutout as Tokyo Yakult beat Yomiuri rookie Hayato Takagi (5-2) to snap a nine-game losing skid.
Carp 2, BayStars 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Rainel Rosario and Nate Schierholtz each hit his first home run of the season, and Yuya Fukui (3-1) walked six but allowed just a run in 6-2/3 innings as Hiroshima beat league-leading Yokohama.
Dragons 6, Tigers 1
At Nagoya Dome, Yuta Muto (1-1) allowed a run in five innings and Chunichi broke the ice in a three-run fourth inning, when Hanshin starter Suguru Iwazaki (0-3) walked the bases loaded with no outs.