FUKUOKA – Kenji Tomura made his season debut count for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Sunday in a 2-1 Pacific League win over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Called on to start at the last minute, Tomura (1-0) worked five-plus scoreless innings. The 29-year-old right-hander allowed four singles and walked three, the last two, with no outs in the sixth, sending him to the showers.
“It was for this kind of thing that I had been preparing,” said Tomura, whose career since signing as the Eagles’ top draft pick in 2009 has been lackluster. “I got the chance because I was prepared.”
Right-hander Takayuki Kishi had been scheduled to start for the league-leading Eagles, but was a last-minute scratch.
“To be honest, I was pretty surprised,” Tomura said. “But I focused on those things I’m capable of doing and took the mound thinking of nothing but hitting (catcher Motohiro) Shima’s mitt.”
Hawks starter Hayato Terahara (0-1) faced the minimum over three innings, but the one-two punch at the top of the Eagles lineup got things rolling in the fourth.
Back-to-back doubles by leadoff man Eigoro Mogi and No. 2 hitter Carlos Peguero made it 1-0, and Japhet Amador’s single tacked on a run and drove Terahara from the mound.
Reliever Yuya Iida got the Hawks out of that no-out jam, and Ryota Igarashi got the hosts out of trouble in the fifth after Iida walked two.
Eagles setup man Frank Herrmann walked himself out of the game in the eighth, walking two of the first four batters he faced before Alfredo Despaigne plated a run with a roller up the middle.
Closer Yuki Matsui walked the bases loaded, but got out of the inning with a groundout and survived a one-out single in the ninth to record his eighth save.
Marines 2, Buffaloes 0
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Yuki Karakawa (1-3) won a pitchers’ duel with Orix’s top draft pick last autumn, Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2). Karakawa gave up four hits, a walk and hit a batter over eight innings. Chiba Lotte’s Matt Duffy doubled and scored the game’s first run in the third inning, as the Buffaloes were shut out for the first time this season.
Lions 12, Fighters 3
At MetLife Dome, Ernesto Mejia’s two-run, sixth-inning double brought Seibu from a run down and Shogo Akiyama’s second homer of the game — a two-run shot in the eighth — iced it as Seibu left Hokkaido Nippon Ham with its first eight-game losing streak in four seasons.
Dragons 1, BayStars 0
At Yokohama Stadium, Ryosuke Hirata’s first-inning sacrifice fly opened the scoring, Raul Valdes (1-0) outdueled Phil Klein (2-1) to make that lead hold up for eight innings and Shinji Tajima earned the save as Chunichi shut out Yokohama.
Tigers 2, Giants 1
At Tokyo Dome, Kosuke Fukudome twice drove in Masahiro Nakatani, with a first-inning single and a third-inning sacrifice fly, and four Hanshin pitchers repeatedly pitched out of trouble in a win over Yomiuri.