• Kyodo


The Chiba Lotte Marines rocked Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace Shohei Otani for five runs in 2-2/3 innings, winning 9-3 in Game 1 of the Pacific League Climax Series first stage on Saturday.

The Marines’ Toshiaki Imae overturned a 1-0 deficit with a three-run, second-inning double at Sapporo Dome.

Sparked by big hits from Kazuya Fukuura and Luis Cruz, Lotte scored five runs between the second and third innings. Cruz, who left after a leg injury, made a couple of sparkling defensive plays at second to keep the Fighters in check.

In the eighth, Ikuhiro Kiyota belted a solo home run for the Marines to account for the game’s final run.

Lotte pounded out 11 hits in the series opener. The Fighters finished with eight hits.

In addition to Otani, Nippon Ham used five relievers.

Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa pitched five innings of two-run ball to earn the win, and four Lotte relievers closed out the game.

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