CHIBA – Kodai Senga allowed one hit over seven innings to pitch the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks to a 3-0 victory over the Chiba Lotte Marines on Saturday, ending a six-game losing streak.
Senga (9-1), who gave up five runs in his last start, used his breaking ball to get ahead in counts and teased hitters with high 150-kph fastballs they couldn’t hit or lay off.
Through five innings, Senga was locked in a scoreless pitching duel with Marines rookie Ryota Sekiya before the visitors broke through in the sixth before 27,713 at QVC Marine Field.
“I came out at full speed,” Senga said. “I wanted to snap this losing streak.”
Robert Suarez worked the eighth for SoftBank and Dennis Sarfate took over in the ninth to earn his 35th save. Both relievers struck out two.
Sekiya (4-2), who had allowed just three runners through the first five innings, retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before the Hawks broke through with three straight singles.
Akira Nakamura bounced a low pitch past the mound for a single. Yuki Yanagita hit a little flare over second that put runners on the corners, and a 2-1 changeup away to Kenji Akashi hung up enough for him to line it to right for an RBI single.
Nobuhiro Matsuda was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Yuki Yoshimura bounced a hanging curve up the middle for a two-run single.
The Marines’ second draft pick last autumn, Sekiya allowed three runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batsman, while striking out two. Senga, however, retired the first 11 men he faced. And after allowing a hit and a walk with two outs in the fourth, the right-hander retired the last 10 batters he saw in an efficient 85-pitch outing. He walked one and struck out seven.
“Their pitcher was pretty good,” Marines manager Tsutomu Ito said. “Our only saving grace was preventing a no-hitter.”
Lotte captain Daichi Suzuki said, “He (Senga) was as good as he usually is. He got ahead in the count with breaking pitches and dictated the pace.”
Buffaloes 9, Lions 1
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Seibu starter Ken Togame (3-5) cruised through five innings but Orix solved him in his third trip through the Buffaloes order, scoring six-runs in the sixth in a one-sided win behind a five-hitter by Brandon Dickson (8-8).
Fighters 2, Eagles 0
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Hokkaido Nippon Ham rookie right-hander Hirotoshi Takanashi (7-2) threw a three-hitter for his first career in a triumph over Tohoku Rakuten.
Takanashi is 5-0 since being moved from the bullpen on June 8.
BayStars 2, Carp 1 (10)
At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo singled home Masayuki Kuwahara with one out in the 10th to win it.
Yokohama starter Shoichi Ino, allowed a run in eight innings, while league-leading Hiroshima got seven innings of one-run ball from Hiroki Kuroda.
Swallows 2, Giants 1
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (5-8) allowed a run in seven innings and got a second-inning solo homer from reserve catcher Akihisa Nishida as Tokyo Yakult edged Yomiuri.
Tigers 5, Dragons 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Fumiya Hojo sparked Hanshin’s offense by going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a solo homer. He doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice in a two-run first and homered in the fifth in a win over last-place Chunichi.