OSAKA – Tsuyoshi Wada pitched six scoreless innings and Seiichi Uchikawa hit the 150th home run of his career as the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Orix Buffaloes 5-2 on Wednesday.
Yuki Yanagita followed up Kenta Imamiya’s one-out double with an RBI single to put SoftBank on the board in the top of the first inning, and Uchikawa stretched the lead with a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, off Buffs starter Daiki Tomei. The Buffaloes youngster missed high with a fastball and the NPB veteran drilled it.
“I completely forgot it was my 150th and I didn’t think anything about it until I got back to the dugout and Yangita was shouting, ‘150 homers, 150 homers,’ said Uchikawa, one of only two players to have led both leagues in batting average.
“The team is playing as one, the pitchers are doing their best to execute their pitches, and we’re just trying to build this one win at a time.”
The Hawks pulled further ahead when they added a run on a wild pitch from Tomei in the top of the fifth. Shuhei Fukuda took a big rolling lead off second and scored when the ball rolled all the way to the third base dugout. Yuichi Honda doubled home Yuya Hasegawa in the sixth to make it 5-0.
Yoshio Itoi and Ryoichi Adachi each drove in a run for Orix in the eighth.
Former Chicago Cubs hurler Wada gave up three hits and struck out one while walking three. Tomei (1-2) took the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, on eight hits.
With normal middle-relief stalwarts Edison Barrios and Ryota Igarashi missing, newcomer Robert Suarez got the Hawks out of their eighth-inning jam, and Dennis Sarfate locked it down in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.
Fighters 7, Eagles 6
At Sapporo Dome, Shohei Otani, who is winless as Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s ace this season, belted a three-run, first-inning homer and doubled in his role as designated hitter in a win over Tohoku Rakuten that was decided on Sho Nakata’s sayonara single in the ninth. Nakata also had three RBIs for the Fighters.
Marines 7, Lions 2
At Saitama’s Seibu Prince Dome, Chiba Lotte rookie Kota Futaki (2-2) allowed a run in six innings and Alfredo Despaigne broke up a scoreless game, doubling in the first run of a five-run sixth inning against Seibu’s Opening Day starter Yusei Kikuchi (1-4).
Carp 8, Swallows 0
At Jingu Stadium, Yusuke Nomura (3-1) threw the first shutout of his career as Hiroshima whipped Tokyo Yakult. Seiya Suzuki homered for the second game in a row with a two-run homer in a five-run fourth inning. Yakult lost its third straight.
Giants 11, Tigers 1
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Garret Jones homered and Hayato Sakamoto went deep twice in support of Yomiuri lefty Kazuto Taguchi (1-1), who went the distance for the first time in his career to beat Hanshin, which made three errors
BayStars 8, Dragons 3
At Yokohama Stadium, Takehiro Ishikawa had his first home run of the season in the first inning and Hyuma Matsui, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Masayuki Kuwahara each added solo shots as Yokohama overpowered Chunichi. BayStars starter Yasutomo Kubo (1-3) allowed three runs over six-plus innings en route to his first win of the 2016 campaign.
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