Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Kiyota, Navarro lift Marines as starter Wakui remains unbeaten

Kyodo

Chiba Lotte Marines right-hander Hideaki Wakui secured his fifth win of the season to top the Pacific League in wins on Friday afternoon, holding the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to two runs over seven innings in a 4-3 victory.

By the fifth inning, Wakui (5-0) had surrendered two runs on eight hits, but Ikuhiro Kiyota tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a two-run homer and Yamaico Navarro plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.

Wakui allowed nine hits without a walk and struck out seven in his 132-pitch outing at windy QVC Marine Field.

“It was really difficult to pitch (in the wind). I concentrated on working low, and I knew the team will get me runs if I hung in there,” Wakui said. “They really hit when I’m pitching and hope I can remain unbeaten riding on that.”

Wakui allowed a second-pitch, lead-off double to Yang Dai-kang in the first before a one-out RBI single from Kensuke Tanaka.

Wakui scattered three more hits over next three innings, but was caught again by the same batters in the fifth as Yang and Takuya Nakashima singled before Tanaka again drove in a run with a single.

Kiyota came to the rescue with a game-tying shot off erratic Luis Mendoza (1-3), who had issued five walks by then, after Shogo Nakamura’s single. Alfredo Despaigne drew another walk and after Katsuya Kakunaka’s double, Navarro hit a sac fly to left for his team’s third run, knocking Mendoza from the mound.

Mendoza gave up three runs on five hits and struck out four in 4-1/3 innings.

Navarro scored the Marines’ fourth run with an RBI double in the seventh off Fighters reliever Takayuki Kato.

Lotte closer Yuji Nishino allowed three hits in the ninth as Masaya Taniguchi hit an RBI single for the Fighters, but Nakashima flied out with two on for the final out.

The Marines had scored 37 runs over Wakui’s first five starts.

Lions 7, Hawks3

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Seibu’s Ken Togame (1-1) held Fukuoka SoftBank to a run over seven innings.

Ryo Sakata broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in a five-run fourth, in which Yuji Kaneko hit a three-run triple off Hawks starter Kenichi Nakata (0-1).

Eagles 4, Buffaloes 3

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Tohoku Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (4-1) allowed three runs in the first, with Orix’s Yoshio Itoi capping the rally with a two-run homer off his ninth pitch.

But Takero Okajima tied the game in the seventh with an RBI single and hit another in the ninth to drive in the decisive run.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 2, BayStars 1

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Yuta Iwasada (2-1) allowed one unearned run over six innings to outduel Yokohama rookie Shota Imanaga.

Imanaga (0-4) gave up a two-run shot in the fifth, the first career homer by rookie Naomasa Yokawa. Despite his winless record, Imanaga has a 2.45 ERA.

Carp 9, Dragons 4

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Yoshihiro Maru broke a 2-2 tie with a fifth-inning RBI single, Ryuhei Matsuyama doubled twice and drove in three runs and Seiya Suzuki drove in four in a win over Chunichi.

Dayan Viciedo hit his league-leading ninth home run for the Dragons.

Swallows 4, Giants 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Masanori Ishikawa (3-3) held Yomiuri to a run on five hits over 8-2/3 innings.

Yuhei Nakamura singled in two runs off the Giants’ Aaron Poreda (1-3) in the first inning and drove in his team’s fourth run with an eighth-inning double.