OSAKA – Yasunori Kikuchi pitched seven innings of two-run ball, Wily Mo Pena tied the game and drove in a go-ahead run and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles beat the Orix Buffaloes 5-3 on Saturday.
Kikuchi (4-3) allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked two to halt the Eagles’ losing streak at six. Dominican infielder Pena rapped out an RBI single off Yuki Nishi to tie the game 2-2 in the sixth, before a two-out RBI double off Rakuten reliever Shohei Tsukahara (0-3) in the eighth gave them the upper hand at Kyocera Dome.
“I did allow runners on base but I hung on determined not to give up the third run,” said Kikuchi. “I was really pleased to see him (Pena) batting in runs.”
Former New York Met Kazuo Matsui, who reached 2,000 career hits in Japan on Tuesday, went 3-for-4, singling in a run off Nishi in the fourth to open the scoring after Toshihito Abe singled and stole second with one out.
The Buffaloes turned the game around through two RBI doubles in the bottom of the inning. Ryoichi Adachi led the frame with a double off Kikuchi, Yoshio Itoi tied the game with a line drive to the gap in right and Yuki Miyazaki’s ground-rule double brought Itoi home after two outs, before Pena brought the Eagles back into the game.
Orix starter Nishi also pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits. The right-hander struck out three without a walk.
After Pena put Rakuten ahead in the eighth, Tadashi Ishimine plated two more off Tsukahara with a single for a 5-2 lead and Takahiro Okada’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning was not enough for Orix.
Fighters 4, Marines 2
At Sapporo Dome, Luis Mendoza (6-5) pitched seven shutout innings as he held Chiba Lotte to three hits while striking out four and walking three. Kensuke Tanaka’s RBI double and a sac fly from Yang Dai-kang in the fifth saw Hokkaido Nippon Ham lead 3-0 and Yuki Karakawa (4-3) knocked out in the inning.
Hawks 2, Lions 1
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Seiichi Uchikawa hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning to give Fukuoka Softbank a 2-0 lead and Shota Takeda (9-4) allowed one run on seven hits through 6-1/3 innings for a personal best ninth win.
Seibu lost its 11th straight for the first time in 36 years.
Giants 5, Dragons 4
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri rallied to post its fifth straight win after Hayato Sakamoto hit a bases-loaded, two-run double off Chunichi’s Koji Fukutani (3-4) in the ninth for a walk-off that sent the Giants to the top of the CL.
Swallows 4, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, Taichi Ishiyama (4-4) held Hanshin to a run over seven innings to hand Tokyo Yakult its first win at the Tigers’ home in seventh attempts this season.
Tetsuto Yamada’s sac fly in the first inning and a two-run homer from Kazuhiro Hatakeyama in the third off Randy Messenger (7-8) had the Swallows in control.
BayStars 2, Carp 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth with an RBI double off Kris Johnson (8-5), and Kentaro Takasaki (2-1) took the win after allowing a run on eight hits in five innings.