SENDAI – Two-time Pacific League strikeout leader Takahiro Norimoto continued amassing whiffs on Friday, when he struck out 12 over eight innings in the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ 4-2 win over the Seibu Lions.
Norimoto (2-0), who brought his best fastball to the game, allowed two runs on six hits and two walks before a weekday afternoon crowd of 25,607 at Kobo Stadium Miyagi. A week earlier, Norimoto struck out 11 in his Opening Day start against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
“It’s really easy pitching here, but I still want to pitch more economically,” said Norimoto after his 140-pitch effort. “In situations where I wanted them, I was able to get swings and misses.”
Zelous Wheeler scored Rakuten’s first two runs against Lions’ Opening Day starter Yusei Kikuchi, leading off the second and fourth innings with singles. New Eagle Toshiaki Imae, who followed Wheeler in the order, advanced his teammate to third with a second-inning single before Wheeler opened the scoring with a groundout.
Imae walked in the fourth before rookie Eigoro Mogi reached on a bunt single. Two-time Golden Glove-winning catcher Ginjiro Sumitani pounced on the ball, but first baseman Ernesto Mejia was unable to handle the throw and all the runners took an extra base.
With one out, shortstop Shuta Tonosaki failed to play a tricky hop and was charged with an error as Imae scored. Mogi then came home on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Motohiro Shima.
Kikuchi (0-1) allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits and four walks. The native of neighboring Iwate Prefecture struck out two in his eight-inning complete game loss.
Fighters 4, Hawks 3
At Shizuoka Kusanagi Stadium, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Daikan Yoh doubled in the winning run off Fukuoka SoftBank’s Yuito Mori (0-1) with two outs in the ninth. Fighters ace Shohei Otani allowed a run with six strikeouts in six innings, but did not figure in the decision.
Marines 4, Buffaloes 3
At Kyocera Dome, Daichi Suzuki’s PL-leading third home run, an eighth-inning solo shot off Orix’s Tatsuya Sato (0-1), broke a 3-3 tie. Chiba Lotte’s Hideaki Wakui (2-0) allowed three runs in seven innings to earn the win.
Swallows 4, Dragons 1
At Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) threw a complete game, holding Chunichi to a run on three hits without walks, while Tomotaka Sakaguchi broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single off Yudai Ono (0-1) in the fifth.
BayStars 2, Tigers 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo tied the game with a leadoff solo homer in the ninth off Hanshin starter Atsushi Nomi (1-1), and Tatsuya Shimozono’s two-out, RBI single off reliever Hiroaki Saiuchi handed Yokohama a dramatic win.
Giants 6, Carp 4
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