OSAKA – Yuki Nishi gutted it out for seven innings and earned the win as the Orix Buffaloes put the brakes on the streaking Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters with a 4-3 win in the Pacific League on Tuesday.
The Fighters entered the game having won 15 straight — the longest streak in Nippon Professional Baseball since the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks won 15 in a row in 2005.
Coming off two strong starts, Buffaloes starter Nishi pitched out of a pair of tight spots to last seven innings. Nishi gave up three runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four in a 148-pitch outing.
“My pitch count was really high, but I was able to pitch tough when I had to,” said Nishi (5-8), who won his third straight start.
With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh, Nishi pitched out of two-on, one-out jam. Shohei Otani hit a smash that nearly took shortstop Ryoichi Adachi’s glove off but resulted in an out. Cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, whose 150th career home run had put the Fighters in front in the top of the fifth, grounded out to end the inning.
Catcher Kenya Wakatsuki, who had doubled and scored the tying run in the fifth, doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of seventh on a Ryoichi Adachi single.
Closer Yoshihisa Hirano walked one batter in the ninth and hit another to give Nippon Ham a last-gasp opportunity, but shortstop Adachi made a diving stop to record the second out. Otani, who went 1-for-3 with a walk, bounced a first-pitch forkball back to Hirano, who recorded his 17th save.
The Buffaloes took the lead in the third off Luis Mendoza, when former Fighter Yoshio Itoi followed a two-out walk and a single with a two-run double to the gap in right.
Itoi, however, helped give away a run in the top of the fourth, when he failed to collect Brandon Laird’s double, allowing Kensuke Nakata to motor home from first.
Nakata, who made the final out with runners on in the first and third innings, went deep to the opposite field with one on fifth.
With Mendoza out of the game after six innings, Wakatsuki doubled off Akihiro Hakumura (2-1) and scored his second run of the game on a single by Adachi.
Eagles 5, Lions 1
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Felix Perez became the first Tohoku Rakuten player to homer in his first NPB at-bat, and lefty Takahiro Shiomi (5-5) allowed a run in six innings in a win over Seibu.
Hawks 4, Marines 0
At Tokyo Dome, Shota Takeda (9-3) allowed two hits but walked five over seven innings, and Nobuhiro Matsuda opened the game with a home run as league-leading Fukuoka SoftBank won its third straight, while Chiba Lotte lost its fourth straight.
Carp 13, Giants 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Takahiro Arai homered twice and made a couple of sparkling plays at first base, while Yusuke Nomura (11-2) allowed three runs in six innings to beat Yomiuri and win his seventh straight start.
Tigers 3, Swallows 1
At Nagano Olympic Stadium, Randy Messenger (8-6) allowed a run in seven innings, and Tokyo Yakult wasted seven scoreless innings from submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka when the bullpen surrendered three runs in the eighth in Hanshin’s come-from-behind victory.
BayStars 6, Dragons 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Luis Lopez’s two-out, solo homer in the ninth inning propelled Yokohama to a walk-off victory over Chunichi.
BayStars cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo finished with two home runs and three RBIs.