OSAKA – Former big leaguer Phil Coke threw seven scoreless innings to earn his first win in Japan as the Orix Buffaloes pounded the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 8-1 in the Pacific League on Saturday.
Before 21,550 at Kyocera Dome, Coke (1-1) bounced back from a hammering in his NPB debut. The 34-year-old lefty allowed three hits, but none through the first six innings. He walked two and struck out four.
“It was a really nice outing. That’s what I was expecting to do the last time out,” Coke said.
Coke, who came to Japan with a 22-27 career record in the bigs, had a solid spring, when he posted a 0.96 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 18-2/3 innings, but his PL debut saw him allow five runs in just 2-2/3 innings the previous Saturday.
“Coke really showed what he’s capable of,” Orix manager Junichi Fukura said. “If he keeps pitching like that, he’ll be fine.”
Stefen Romero, who joined the Buffaloes this season after three big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners, broke the ice in the bottom of the first with a two-run double. He finished the blood-letting with his fourth home run of the season and his fourth in four games, a seventh-inning, two-run shot.
“Every time you just hit one home run it feels amazing, and hitting four in four straight games? I just feel numb. There’s no words to it,” Romero said.
Perhaps as bad as the scoreline for the defending PL champs was losing designated hitter and ace pitcher Shohei Otani to a sore left hamstring in the first inning. Prohibited from running all out on his bad right ankle, last year’ sleague MVP was hurt burning it down to first base trying to beat out an infield single.
Moments after Otani limped back to the Fighters’ dugout after recording the final out in the first, Nippon Ham starter Kohei Arihara (0-2) looked like he was playing hurt, as well. The right-hander’s first pitch was hit for a leadoff double to Yuki Miyazaki. A walk and a sacrifice set the table for Romero, who drove in both runners.
Hiroyuki Nakajima singled home Romero to make it 3-0. Shunta Goto doubled and scored in the second, and then tripled in a run in the fourth before scoring on a Miyazaki single.
Arihara, however, went the distance, allowing eight runs in eight innings in the complete game loss. He allowed 12 hits, walked one batter and hit one, while striking out one in a 110-pitch effort.
Lions 6, Hawks 1
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Seibu snapped a three-game losing streak after Ryoma Nogami (1-1) allowed a run in six solid innings against Fukuoka SoftBank.
He was handed a three-run first-inning lead on a Hideto Asamura RBI single and a two-run homer from Takumi Kuriyama.
Eagles 7, Marines 4
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Tohoku Rakuten broke open a tie game with two outs in the sixth inning after Chiba Lotte starter Hideaki Wakui (0-2) had thrown 120 pitches.
Starting with a runner on second, the right-hander faced four more hitters, allowing two walks, an RBI single to Motohiro Shima and a two-run double to Carlos Peguero.
Carp 2, Swallows 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, second-year Hiroshima right-hander Akitake Okada (1-0) allowed a run in 8-1/3 innings to win a pitchers’ duel with Tokyo Yakult’s Yasuhiro Ogawa (0-2), who surrendered two over seven innings.
BayStars 1, Dragons 1 (12)
At Nagoya Dome, Yokohama rookie Keita Sano, a ninth-round draft pick out of high school delivered a seventh-inning, pinch-hit, bases-loaded RBI single to tie it.
Chunichi starter Shunta Wakamatsu got out of the inning with a double play, and right-hander Takuya Mitsuma got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 11th as the game remained tied and was called after 12 innings.
Giants at Tigers — ppd.