FUKUOKA – Kodai Senga went seven innings to win a pitchers’ duel with Naoyuki Uwasawa as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 1-0 to remain on top of the Pacific League on Saturday.
Senga (10-2) struck out nine, walked two and surrendered five hits before 38,585 at Yafuoku Dome. Sho Iwasaki and Livan Moinelo combined to shut down the Fighters in the eighth.
Dennis Sarfate completed the five-hit shutout in the ninth, recording his 37th save. The 36-year-old right-hander is now six saves away from the PL record he set last season.
The victory lifted Senga to 6-0 against last-place Nippon Ham this season.
“Thanks to Rakuten’s loss (on Friday) we started our game in first place,” Senga said. “With that in mind, my goal today was to pitch deep into the game and hold them scoreless.”
Uwasawa (3-4) allowed five hits but also issued five walks, one of which came around to score the game’s only run. Uwasawa struck out seven.
Kenji Akashi opened the third inning by walking on five pitches and was sacrificed to second. With two outs and first base open, the Fighters passed on left-handed-hitting slugger Yuki Yanagita and walked him intentionally.
Uwasawa got ahead of Alfredo Despaigne 1-2 and tried to push him off the plate with an inside fastball. But the pitch missed over the plate and the Cuban ripped it into center for an RBI single.
“I went into the at-bat with a positive mindset,” Despaigne said. “We had a runner in scoring position, there were two outs and I was behind in the count, and I wanted to somehow take the ball back up the middle.”
Eagles 7, Buffaloes 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Tohoku Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (11-3) pitched his second shutout of the season to beat Orix.
The Eagles’ Japhet Amador went 3-for-5, with three RBIs.
Lions 3, Marines 0
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Seibu’s Shinzaburo Tawata (4-2) allowed six hits and a walk in his second career shutout, earning the win over Chiba Lotte behind home runs from Yuji Kaneko and Shogo Akiyama.
Dragons 3, Swallows 0
At Nagoya Dome, Shunta Wakamatsu (1-3) pitched seven innings, Yohei Oshima hit a fourth-inning solo home run and Alex Guerrero bashed a two-run, eighth-inning homer in Chunichi’s victory over Tokyo Yakult.
Carp 1, Giants 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Kazuki Yabuta (11-2) threw a four-hitter for his first career shutout and outdueled Yomiuri’s Tomoyuki Sugano (12-5), who went seven innings but surrendered Ryoma Nishikawa’s second-inning homer.
Tigers 2, BayStars 1 (10)
At Yokohama Stadium, Kosuke Fukudome made a diving catch in right field to snuff a second-inning rally, scored the tying run with an eighth-inning RBI single and homered in the 10th to break a 1-1 tie as Hanshin edged Yokohama.