HAKODATE, HOKKAIDO – Alfredo Despaigne drove in a go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning as the Chiba Lotte Marines edged the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2-1 in the Pacific League on Thursday for their fourth straight victory.
Nippon Ham’s sixth and last reliever Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-2) allowed a one-out single to Yoshifumi Okada and he reached third on a hit-and-run from Ikuhiro Kiyota before Despaigne hit the sac fly to center for the go-ahead run at Ocean Stadium.
A total of 13 pitchers took the mound as Lotte also sent five relievers in a tightly contested pitching duel.
“Our pitchers kept plugging away and I was determined to get a run in,” Despaigne said. “Both teams played a good game, Kiyota did well with the hit-and-run to set things up for me.”
Nippon Ham scored in the first inning off Marines starter Kosuke Futaki. Takuya Nakashima hit a one-out double and Kensuke Tanaka, who went 3-for-5 on the day, hit a flare to left off a 1-1 fastball for the opening run.
Futaki allowed four hits over next five frames, two to Sho Nakata, but no runs before he got the hook after the sixth inning. The right-hander struck out eight and issued no walks, although he threw a pair of wild pitches.
Fighters starter Takayuki Kato blanked Lotte over 5-1/3 innings on four hits, all singles, and like Futaki didn’t issue a walk.
Nippon Ham had singles from Yang Dai-kang and Tanaka in the eighth off Lotte’s second reliever Takahiro Matsunaga to put runners on second and third with two outs.
But Tomohisa Otani, who had taken over from Matsunaga, struck out Nakata in the Fighters’ last real chance.
Hawks 4, Buffaloes 3
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Kenta Imamiya hit a fourth-inning solo homer and an RBI triple in the sixth, twice giving Fukuoka SoftBank the lead against Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko (3-3).
The PL-leading Hawks won their fourth in a row. The Buffaloes dropped their fifth straight.
Lions 4, Eagles 0
At Omiya Stadium, Seibu’s Kona Takahashi (2-1) tossed a three-hitter to secure his first shutout of the season.
Tohoku Rakuten lost its ninth in a row for the first time in a decade.
CENTRAL LEAGUECarp 3, Giants 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, CL-leading Hiroshima won its fourth straight after Tomohiro Abe hit a bases-loaded sac fly in the sixth to drive in the tie-breaking run off former Carp Kan Otake (0-1).
Allen Kuri (1-1) allowed two runs over six innings to claim his first win in two years, while Yomiuri lost its fifth straight contest for the first time this season.
Swallows 6, Tigers 5
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Hanshin tied the game three times with the help of three home runs, but Tokyo Yakult’s Kazuhiro Hatakeyama hit a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the ninth off Marcos Mateo (1-2), who surrendered a run in his fifth straight game.