TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – Manabu Mima allowed two runs in eight innings as the Pacific League-leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles buried the Seibu Lions 10-2 on Saturday afternoon.
Mima (4-0) allowed four hits, while striking out four and walking none. Both of the runs scored against him came on Shuta Tonosaki solo homers.
Lions starter Ryoma Nogami (2-4) was hit hard in the first inning, when six straight batters reached base after he got the first out. Back-to-back doubles by Carlos Peguero and Hiroaki Shimauchi on poorly located pitches by Nogami made it 1-0.
Shimauchi, who had spent the season batting sixth and seventh in manager Masataka Nashida’s lineup, went 3-for-5 in the No. 3 hole with a homer, two runs and three RBIs. He scored on Ryo Hijirisawa’s two-run double after a single and a walk, and No. 7 hitter Takero Okajima tripled in two more runs to make it 5-0.
With decent command of both his curve and fastball — and the Lions just missing some of his mistakes up in the zone — Mima didn’t allow a runner to reach until Tonosaki went deep with one out in the third.
“Getting a lot of runs early, made my job a lot easier,” said Mima, a 30-year-old right-hander taken by the Eagles in the second round of the 2010 draft.
“Because of all the run support, I was conscious of wanting to pitch deep into the game, so I wanted to challenge hitters early in the count. It’s a long season, and if I can hang in there, the fielders and hitters are going to win some games for me.”
Seibu lefty Frank Garces allowed a run in three innings in relief of Nogami, but was lucky to get away with just that, having given up four hits and three walks. Rakuten, however scored two more each in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game away.
Marines 4, Hawks 1
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Chiba Lotte catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura singled in two, second-inning runs off Tadashi Settsu (0-2), Kota Futaki (2-0) allowed a run in five innings, and the Marines bullpen shut down Fukuoka SoftBank for four more to seal the victory.
Fighters 5, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Kenji Yano made his first start of the season after 13 games as a pinch hitter and overturned a 1-0, third-inning deficit with a two-run double and Sho Nakata broke a fifth-inning tie as Hokkaido Nippon Ham beat Orix for its fifth straight win.
Tigers 12, Carp 9
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Hiroshima rookie Akitake Okada allowed seven runs in 5-2/3 innings, and the Carp blew a nine-run lead in a loss to the Tigers.
Reliever Ren Nakata entered with a 9-5 lead, two outs and the bases-loaded, but walked in a run before surrendering a three-run triple to Hanshin’s Shun Takayama.
Kazuki Yabuta (1-1) got the Carp out of the sixth, but surrendered three runs in the seventh as the Tigers tied it on a Kento Ishihara double and took the lead on Ryutaro Umeno’s two-run triple.
Giants 6, Dragons 1
At Nagoya Dome, Kazuto Taguchi (3-0) allowed a run in seven innings, while Casey McGehee had three RBIs and four of Yomiuri’s season-high 14 hits in a rout of Chunichi.
BayStars 6, Swallows 5 (11)
At Yokohama Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani’s one-out, eighth-inning grand slam off Tokyo Yakult starter Yasuhiro Ogawa tied the game, then Tatsuhiro Shibata’s one-out, 11th-inning RBI double won it for Yokohama.