OSAKA – The Orix Buffaloes completed a three-game sweep of the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Thursday, claiming a 4-3 comeback victory to earn their first four-game win streak of the season.
Chihiro Kaneko (6-6), the 2014 PL MVP, allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over six innings, striking out four to outpitch SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama (7-5).
The Hawks right-hander gave up four runs, all unearned, in six innings. He gave up eight hits and two walks, but committed two throwing errors in his final frame as the visitors shot themselves in the foot for a season-worst fifth straight defeat.
Yuki Yanagita hit a two-run double in the top of the second off Kaneko, before Higashihama allowed a leadoff single in the home half to Hiroyuki Nakajima. A fumble from third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda on a sacrifice bunt put two on, another bunt saw the runners advance and Nakajima came home on a groundout to make it a one-run game.
Higashihama then contrived to give up three runs in the sixth. His bad throw on a one-out sacrifice bunt put two on, and another wild throw loaded the bases before a wayward throw from center fielder Yanagita on Ryoichi Adachi’s RBI single saw two runs score.
Takayoshi Kawabata hit an RBI single to give his team a 4-2 lead, and SoftBank could only recover a run in the eighth through Shuhei Fukuda’s RBI single off closer Yoshihisa Hirano, who posted his 23rd save.
Lions 2, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, Seibu rookie Shinsaburo Tawata (3-5) got the first shutout of his career on a three-hitter against Hokkaido Nippon Ham, while striking out eight.
Shogo Akiyama drove in both runs with a fifth-inning double off former closer Hirotoshi Masui (3-3), who was making his second start.
Marines 4, Eagles 0
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Yuki Karakawa (5-4) hurled his first shutout in five years, holding Tohoku Rakuten to six hits to outduel the Eagles’ Manabu Mima (7-6), who allowed his only run in a six-inning outing in the first on a Kazuya Fukuura RBI single.
BayStars 5, Giants 4
At Tokyo Dome, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s RBI double in the third opened the scoring before Takayuki Kajitani and Tsutsugo both went deep off Yomiuri’s Nobutaka Imamura (3-4) in the fifth.
Zach Petirck (3-1) allowed two runs over 6⅔ innings as the Giants scored four in the seventh but failed to tie.
Swallows 8, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Yakult’s Toshihiro Sugiura (2-1) allowed two runs over seven innings, while Chunichi starter Junki Ito (1-2) was hammered for eight runs in four-plus innings.
Carp 5, Tigers 3
At Hiroshma’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin first baseman Mauro Gomez hit a solo shot in the sixth but his wild throw home in the seventh allowed two runs to score.
Tigers starter Shintaro Fujinami (5-8) committed another error in the four-run inning as Hiroshima turned the game around and went on to beat the Tigers.