Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hurler Arihara foils Marines as Fighters cruise to 13th consecutive victory

Kohei Arihara allowed no runs for the second straight start, pitching the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to their 13th straight win, a 4-0 Pacific League victory over the Chiba Lotte Marines on Saturday.

The Fighters’ win streak is Japan’s longest since they won 14 straight in 2007. The PL and Nippon Professional Baseball record is 18 straight, set by the 1954 Nankai Hawks.

Arihara (9-3), last year’s PL Rookie of the Year, worked eight innings for the second straight game, allowing three hits and a walk, while striking out five.

Hawks right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa (9-3) surrendered four runs on nine hits over 7-2/3 innings, while walking one, hitting two and striking out four.

Nippon Ham scored a run apiece in the first and second, thanks to singles in each inning by Haruki Nishikawa and Yang Dai-kang. Nishikawa opened the first with a single. Yang singled him to third with one out and Nishikawa scored on a sac fly by Sho Nakata.

Ishikawa hit the first batter in the second, and the leadoff runner came home after singles by Nishikawa and Yang.

Brandon Laird beltered his 24th home run of the season with two outs in the eighth, and Tomoya Ichikawa completed the scoring in the inning with an RBI double.

“A three-run lead and a four-run (cushion) are completely different,” said Ichikawa, whose RBI meant closer Chris Martin could take a seat and allow right-hander Anthony Bass to finish the game in the ninth.

Hawks 6, Eagles 2

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka SoftBank’s Nao Higashihama (6-2) held Tohoku Rakuten to two runs in eight innings.

Yuki Yoshimura tripled in two runs in the first off Manabu Mima (6-3), while Akira Nakamura had a solo home run and an RBI single for the PL-leading Hawks.

Buffaloes 2, Lions 0

At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Takahiro Matsuba (3-4) blanked Seibu over 7-2/3 innings and Yoshio Itoi plated both runs for Orix with a first-inning RBI single and a leadoff homer in the third off Ryoma Nogami (2-8).

The Buffaloes snapped their three-game skid.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 8, Swallows 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Shunta Wakamatsu (7-6) allowed two runs in five innings and Chunichi’s Ryosuke Hirata drove in three runs to spoil the comeback of right-hander Yoshinori Sato (0-1).

Sato took the mound for Yakult’s top team for the first time since Sept. 3, 2011.

In 2010, he set a record for the fastest pitch by a Japanese player at 161 kph. On Saturday, he topped out at 149 kph. He allowed six runs — five earned — in five-plus innings. He gave up 10 hits, walked one and hit a batter while striking out four.

Giants 5, BayStars 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Tomoyuki Sugano (6-4) allowed two runs over the distance, Hayato Sakamoto hit an eighth-inning, tie-breaking solo homer run and Shuichi Murata went deep for the third time in four days with a two-run shot off Yokohama reliever Tomoya Mikami (1-2).

Carp 7, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Takahiro Arai brought Hiroshima from behind against his former team with a three-run home run in the third off Hanshin’s Atsushi Nomi (5-7).

Yoshihiro Maru and Seiya Suzuki also went deep for the CL-leading Carp.