Osaka – Stefen Romero hit a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning Wednesday to lift the Orix Buffaloes 5-4 over the Hanshin Tigers.
On the second day of the three-game Kansai Derby in western Japan, the Buffaloes avenged for the previous day’s loss — their first and only defeat so far after eight games of interleague play — to the Tigers at Kyocera Dome Osaka.
Hanshin had built a 4-0 lead by the fourth inning, including a three-run home run by Masahiro Nakatani, but Takahiro Okada began the comeback with a solo homer in the fifth. Romero’s no-out RBI hit to center sparked a three-run rally in the next inning to tie the game 4-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hanshin reliever Marcos Mateo (5-1) loaded the bases with two walks and a hit before Romero delivered the hit to left.
“It was one out, so I was just trying to hit something hard and also get the game-winning hit and hit it just right in the right spot, and we scored,” Romero said. “The bullpen kept us in the game and allowed our offense to get the opportunity, and luckily I was blessed with that opportunity to come through.”
Orix starter Daiki Tomei, who has no decisions in two appearances, lasted only four innings, surrendering four runs on four hits and three walks.
Ken Akama pitched two perfect innings in relief, while Taisuke Kondo, Yuta Kuroki and Yoshihisa Hirano (2-3) kept Hanshin scoreless the rest of the way.
“I’m glad I was able to keep the opponent from scoring and that our offense allowed us to win,” Akama said. “We lost yesterday, so I’m sure all of us were determined to get it back today so I’m really happy that we were able to win.”
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