FUKUOKA – A day after his fielding error cost his team the Pacific League lead, Yuki Yanagita helped power them back on top as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks clobbered the Chiba Lotte Marines 11-3 on Friday night.
With two outs and none on in the first inning, Yanagita homered to start a four-run outburst that was all Hawks starter Tsuyoshi Wada would need. On Thursday against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Yanagita’s attempt to make a sliding catch in shallow center during the ninth inning turned a single into a three-run, inside-the-park homer that had cost the Hawks the game in a 7-5 loss.
“I blew it yesterday,” said Yanagita, who went 2-for-5 with four RBIs in the series opener against the Marines. “My goal today was to put that behind me and come out ready to compete. I’m glad that led to good results.”
Wada surrendered four hits and hit a batter over eight innings, while striking out eight. The two runs he allowed came on solo homers by Alfredo Despaigne. Wada improved to 14-4 to lead both leagues in wins, but despite his team being in second place for the first time in over four months, he said this start was no different.
“I just took the mound the same as always,” Wada said. “Today my form was not that good, but I was encouraged by Gita’s home run. I did give up home runs to Despaigne, but I did well overall.”
After Yanagita homered, a Seiichi Uchikawa double and a walk rebooted the SoftBank offense against Lotte right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa (12-5). Back-to-back doubles by Nobuhiro Matsuda and Tomoaki Egawa completed the four-run inning.
Ishikawa allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks over three innings.
Lions 7, Fighters 1
At Omiya Stadium, Yusei Kikuchi (10-5) allowed a run in five-plus innings — when he left the game with a blister on his foot — and Takeya Nakamura homered twice as Seibu beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham to knock the Fighters out of first place.
Eagles 4, Buffaloes 3
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten’s bullpen threw 2-2/3 scoreless innings and Carlos Peguero broke a 3-3, eighth-inning tie with his second homer of the season as the Eagles came from behind to beat Orix.
BayStars 11, Giants 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Yomiuri ace Tetsuya Utsumi (8-4) had a night to forget — allowing eight hits and six runs in the first inning — in a one-sided loss to Yokohama, which had six-straight, two-out RBI singles in the opening frame.
Swallows 5, Tigers 3
At Koshien Stadium, Atsushi Ugumori hit his first career grand slam, singled in another run and Tokyo Yakult held on to beat Hanshin, which failed in its bid to win five straight games for the first time this season.
Carp 3, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi had a runner thrown out at the plate in the eighth, allowing Hiroshima reliever Jay Jackson (5-4) to work around a leadoff single, a double and a walk.
Ryosuke Kikuchi singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth as the league-leading Carp came from behind for the second straight night.