KORIYAMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Takahiro Norimoto didn’t allow a single earned run in eight innings against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, striking out eight in the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ 5-1 interleague victory Tuesday.
Norimoto improved to 6-3, moving into a tie for the Pacific League lead in wins after scattering six hits in a no-walk outing.
Swallows slugger Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, who struck out twice in four at-bats, said there are few pitchers in the Central League who can match Norimoto.
“It’s not just his velocity, but he keeps his pitches down in the zone,” Hatakeyama said of the Eagles right-hander. “He’s pretty amazing all around. Not too many like him in the CL.”
The lone run Yakult scored off Norimoto was in the third, when third baseman Zelous Wheeler committed an error with two outs to put Masayoshi Miwa on base.
Another fielding error by Ginji Akaminai pushed Miwa into scoring position before Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s base hit sent him home at Koriyama Stadium.
Rookie Luis Okoye went 2-for-4 including a two-run triple in the Eagles’ four-run second off Yakult starter Kyle Davies (1-1), who gave up seven hits, two walks and hit a batter in 5-2/3 innings.
Wheeler hit a solo shot in the eighth, his 10th home run of the season, for Rakuten, which sent Yakult to its sixth straight defeat. The Swallows are now 10 games under .500.
Carp 3, Fighters 2
At Asahikawa Starffin Stadium, Takaya Toda (3-0) held Hokkaido Nippon Ham to one earned run on four hits and a walk in six innings for Hiroshima.
Shohei Otani extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.
Hawks 6, BayStars 3
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Dennis Sarfate, the PL’s pitcher of the month for May, earned his Japan-leading 19th save by striking out the side in the ninth for Fukuoka Softbank, which halted Yokohama’s winning streak at three.
Lions 6, Giants 2
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Seibu southpaw Yusei Kikuchi (6-5) baffled Yomiuri over seven innings, striking out nine to beat the Giants for the first time in his career.
Kikuchi became the PL co-leader in victories.
Marines 2, Tigers 1
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Yamaico Navarro drove in both runs for Chiba Lotte against Hanshin.
Navarro had an RBI single in the third and a solo homer in the sixth off Tigers starter Atsushi Nomi (3-5).
Dragons at Buffaloes — late