FUKUOKA – The Chiba Lotte Marines belted out five runs off three Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks relievers in the eighth inning and snapped their five-game losing streak on Sunday with a 7-5 win over the Pacific League leaders.
SoftBank’s Robert Suarez (1-5) took the loss after facing just four batters in the eighth at Yafuoku Dome. With runners on first and second, one out in a 4-2 game, Alfredo Despaigne grounded deep to short for a single and bowled over Hawks first baseman Seiichi Uchikawa, who spilled the ball, allowing a run to score.
Side-arm lefty Masahiko Morifuku came in to face Daichi Suzuki, who hammered a single to tie it. Ryota Igarashi, the Hawks third pitcher of the inning, surrendered a sacrifice fly to fellow former big leaguer, Tadahito Iguchi, that gave Lotte the lead.
After a walk, Tatsuhiro Tamura tripled in two insurance runs for the Marines, who had been hammered in the first two games of the three-game series.
“The team had been losing and I hadn’t hit when chances came my way, so I wanted to plate as many runs as I could,” Tamura said. “I felt relieved. We couldn’t go back home with three losses and I wanted to repay the fans who cheered us on.”
SoftBank starter Sho Iwasaki allowed two runs, on a first-inning Katsuya Kakunaka homer, over six innings, scattering seven hits and one walk, while fanning four.
Lotte starter Hideaki Wakui surrendered four runs in six innings with the Hawks scoring three in the third. Tomoaki Egawa led off with a home run, his third homer in five games, before RBI singles from Akira Nakamura and Yuki Yanagita completed the rally.
Yanagita, who had nine RBIs over the previous two games, hit a solo homer in the ninth for SoftBank, which saw closer Dennis Sarfate take the mound for the first time in five games after a right ankle injury.
Buffaloes 13, Eagles 4
At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Orix snapped its four-game losing streak after scoring five runs off Tohoku Rakuten starter Wataru Karashima (1-5) in 3⅔ innings. The Buffaloes’ Ryoichi Adachi went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fifth.
Lions 4, Fighters 3
At Seibu Prince Dome, Ernesto Mejia turned the game around with a three-run shot in the sixth off Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Takayuki Kato (5-2). Mejia’s 30th homer tied him for the most in the PL. Former Fighter Brian Wolfe (1-0) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win. The loss prevented Nippon Ham from taking over the league lead.
Dragons 7 Carp 5
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi scored seven runs in the sixth to snap a four-game losing skid as Masahiko Morino hit a two-run single off Bradin Hagens (6-3) to put the hosts in front, and Naomichi Donoue slugged a grand slam as the Dragons snapped Hiroshima’s four-game winning run.
Swallows 3, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hirofumi Yamanaka (6-9) steered Tokyo Yakult to its fifth straight win, holding Hanshin to a run in a complete-game effort, allowing seven hits. Naomichi Nishiura hit a two-run single in the fifth off Yuta Iwasada (5-9) after Wladimir Balentien tied it 1-1 with a single.
Giants at BayStars — late