YOKOHAMA – Cleanup hitter Seiya Suzuki went deep twice as the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp scored all their runs on four home runs, beating the Yokohama BayStars 6-1 behind eight strong innings from Akitake Okada on Saturday.
Okada (3-1), who was 4-3 with a 3.02 ERA last year as a rookie, allowed a hit each in his first four innings but no runs until the eighth at Yokohama Stadium. He struck out six while scattering six hits and a walk in a 122-pitch outing.
Hiroshima led by two runs after as many pitches from Yokohama starter Shota Imanaga (1-2), Kosuke Tanaka singling off the lefty before Ryosuke Kikuchi connected on a fastball away for an opposite-field homer to right wall.
Imanaga recovered to retire his next 10 batters — including three strikeouts in the third inning — but was caught by Suzuki in the fourth with one out, who pulled it out to left.
“I’ve been passive recently so I was looking to swing whenever chances come my way, and I got to swing the way I’m capable of,” said Suzuki. “I just went for it and that paid off.”
Imanaga surrendered his third homer of the day in the seventh with one out to Takahiro Arai, who went 3-for-4. Imanaga allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out six over 6⅔ innings.
It could have been worse for Imanaga as he left with the bases loaded. Shingo Hirata retired Kikuchi to end the inning, but the reliever issued a leadoff walk in the eighth before Suzuki, whose previous eight games as cleanup came in the absence of Arai, took him deep.
“I want him to think about overtaking Arai and grabbing it (the cleanup spot),” Carp skipper Koichi Ogata said. “If he can make his presence felt in this kind of manner then that possibility gets even higher.”
Dragons 6, Tigers 3
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin closer Rafael Dolis (0-2) loaded the bases with two singles and a walk and Atushi Fujii hit a one-out, RBI single to plate the go-ahead run in Chunichi’s three-run ninth.
Swallows 2, Giants 1
At Jingu Stadium, Yasuhiro Ogawa (3-2) allowed a run in 7⅔ innings to win a pitcher’s duel and Yuhei Takai opened the scoring with a two-run home run off rookie reliever Shimpei Shinohara (1-1) as Tokyo Yakult beat Yomiuri.
Fighters 3, Eagles 2
At Sapporo Dome, Kensuke Tanaka hit a walk-off RBI single off Tohoku Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui (2-1) as struggling Japan Series winner Hokkaido Nippon Ham snapped the PL-leading Eagles’ four-game winning streak.
Marines 6, Lions 3
At MetLife Dome, Kazuya Fukuura cleared the bases to give Chiba Lotte an early lead off Seibu starter Ryoma Nogami (2-3). Kota Futaki (1-0) allowed three runs over 7⅔ innings as the Lions lost their fourth straight.
Buffaloes 6, Hawks 4
At Kyocera Dome, Phil Coke (2-1) pitched four innings of scoreless relief and Brent Morel hit a game-breaking, three-run double as Orix outlasted Fukuoka SoftBank.