OSAKA – Ace Chihiro Kaneko overcame a tough second inning to go the distance in the Orix Buffaloes’ 4-3 Pacific League win over the Seibu Lions on Wednesday.
Kaneko (4-0) pitched out of a second-inning jam to keep the game scoreless and the Buffaloes got to Seibu starter Kona Takahashi (0-3) in a four-run fifth.
A one-out infield single and a walk set the table for the Lions in the sixth before a two-run Sosuke Genda double and an RBI groundout made it a one-run game. Kaneko allowed only one baserunner after that.
The 33-year-old right-hander allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked two in his second complete game victory of the season for the second-place Buffaloes.
“I was struggling there in the middle, but I managed to get out of it with everyone’s help,” Kaneko said. “First of all the fielding was big behind me, and then they got us on the board with their bats and (center fielder Yuki) Miyazaki was in the middle of that.”
Miyazaki, by and large a disappointment since the Buffaloes drafted him third in 2010, has been a spark plug in the leadoff spot this season.
Brent Morel, back with the first team after an injury to outfielder Stefen Romero, drew a leadoff walk in the fifth. After a one-out walk, Miyazaki hit a grounder to third that somehow got through third baseman Shuta Tonosaki and down the left-field line for a two-run double.
Masahiro Nishino tripled home Miyazaki and scored on a Ryoichi Adachi single. Two more singles loaded the bases, but Takahashi stranded all three runners. In five innings, he allowed four runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four.
Eagles 11, Marines 7
At Sendai’s Kobo Park Miyagi, Takahiro Norimoto (2-1) allowed a run in seven innings, while Hiroaki Shimauchi and Zelous Wheeler hit two run homers in the second and third innings, respectively, as Rakuten cruised past Chiba Lotte to its fourth straight victory.
Hawks 4, Fighters 1
At Yafuoku Dome, Nao Higashihama (2-1) allowed a run in seven innings and SoftBank hit two first-inning homers off former Cleveland Indian Toru Murata (0-1) as defending Japan Series champion Nippon Ham lost 10 straight games for the first time in 12 seasons.
Carp 7, Giants 6
At Mazda Stadium, Tsubasa Aizawa’s two-run, sixth-inning single broke a 3-3 tie, while Seiya Suzuki scored twice, drove in a run and saved at least a run with a leaping seventh-inning catch in right field as Hiroshima came from behind and then held off Yomiuri.
Swallows 8, Dragons 7 (11)
At Nagoya Dome, Keiji Obiki’s three-run, eighth-inning homer tied it at 5-5 and Yakult completed its comeback against Chunichi in the 11th on Yuhei Takai’s two-run RBI single. Wladimir Balentien went 4-for-5 and scored three runs for the Swallows.
BayStars at Tigers — ppd.