KOBE – Takahiro Norimoto tied the NPB record for striking out 10 or more batters in six successive games Thursday as he steered the Pacific-League leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to a 4-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes.
Norimoto (6-1), who earned his fifth straight win by allowing one run on five hits and two walks over eight innings, fanned 10 at Hotto Motto Field to equal former big leaguer Hideo Nomo’s feat in 1991 while playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes.
“There were many things going through my head, including the record, but the team winning was the priority,” Norimoto said.
The right-hander did not get off to the best start as the Buffaloes scored their only run in the first inning. With a runner on second with two outs, Takahiro Okada drove in the game’s first run with a single to right off Norimoto’s forkball.
Rakuten tied it at 1-1 in the fourth after Zealous Wheeler hit a leadoff double and came home on a groundout, and Orix starter Brandon Dickson (4-3) yielded the go-ahead run in the fifth after giving up two-out singles to Carlos Peguero, Wheeler and Japhet Amodor.
Dickson retired his first two batters in the sixth, but again let two on before surrendering an RBI single to Eigoro Mogi. The right-hander was chased after allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four, with Peguero driving in another run with a single off Kazumasa Yoshida.
Norimoto, who led the PL in strikeouts in each of the past three seasons, recovered from his early setback as he mixed his pitches effectively and fanned a batter in all but one inning, wrapping up with three straight strikeouts in the eighth as Orix lost seven games in a row for the first time in five years.
“I gave up the run in the first inning but remained tenacious, even after the team turned the game around,” said Norimoto, who now leads PL in wins. “I have strong position players behind me and knew I could earn the win if I hung on.”
Marines 12, Hawks 7
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Chiba Lotte scored nine runs from five homers in a come-from-behind win over Fukuoka SoftBank.
Matt Duffy homered twice to help the Marines score their most runs in a game this season.
Lions 8, Fighters 5
At Omiya Park Baseball Stadium, Seibu’s Shogo Akiyama tied the game with a three-run shot before Hideto Asamura drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth off Hokkaido Nippon Ham reliever Keisuke Tanimoto (0-2).
The Lions won their fourth straight.
Tigers 6, Giants 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Eric Campbell hit his first homer in NPB with a first-inning, two-run clout before doubling in another in the third off Yomiuri starter Kan Otake (4-3).
Tigers hurler Randy Messenger (6-1) held the Giants to a run on five hits.
BayStars 13, Dragons 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama produced a season-high 17 hits for 13 runs to hammer Chunichi.
Toshiro Miyazaki went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, hitting a bases-loaded two-run double in the third to put the BayStars in the lead for good.
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