FUKUOKA – Right-hander Shunta Wakamatsu allowed three hits over eight innings to pick up the win as the Chunichi Dragons pulverized the two-time defending Japan Series champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 5-0 in interleague play on Wednesday.
The Hawks, who have won Nippon Professional Baseball’s annual interleague competition five times since it began in 2005, sent former Chicago Cub Tsuyoshi Wada (6-2) to the mound. The lefty lasted just five innings, surrendering five runs, two earned, on eight hits. He struck out four.
Wakamatsu (5-3), a native of Fukuoka Prefecture, walked two and struck out eight, while retiring the last eight batters he faced.
“My plan was to keep the ball down and stick with what works for me,” said Wakamatsu, whose limited velocity sees him rely more on location and his changeup. “If I don’t work batters inside, I’m not going to keep them off the board.
“My parents and a lot of people I know came tonight, so I thought I wouldn’t lose.”
The Dragons took the lead on three singles in the second before 35,045 at Yafuoku Dome. After a single and a two-out error in the third, Ryosuke Hirata blasted his seventh home run of the season to give the Dragons a commanding lead. Dayan Viciedo singled in another run in the fifth.
Lions 7, BayStars 0
At Seibu Prince Dome, lefty Yusei Kikuchi (5-5) utilized a good fastball to keep Yokohama in check for seven innings. Seibu’s Ernesto Mejia singled in the game’s first run in the sixth, when Hideto Asamura capped the rally with a grand slam.
Giants 1, Buffaloes 0
At Kyocera Dome, southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi (1-2) allowed three hits and a walk over six innings to outduel Orix’s Takahiro Matsuba (1-2), who allowed eight hits and two walks, while hitting two batters over seven innings, but surrendered just one unearned run.
Fighters 5, Swallows 2
At Sapporo Dome, Sho Nakata hit a three-run home run off Tokyo Yakult ace Masanori Ishikawa (4-5), while Anthony Bass (4-4) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win for Hokkaido Nippon Ham. Fighters designated hitter — and ace pitcher — Shohei Otani hit safely for the 13th straight game.
Tigers 5, Eagles 3
At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, right-hander Koyo Aoyagi, Hanshin’s fifth draft pick last autumn, allowed three hits, four walks and a hit batsman over five innings, but held Tohoku Rakuten to a run to win his pro debut.
Carp 4, Marines 2
At QVC Marine Field, Brad Eldred’s seventh-inning single broke a 2-2 tie and Ryosuke Kikuchi’s second RBI single of the game in the eighth sealed Hiroshima’s win over Chiba Lotte.