OSAKA – Wataru Karashima pitched into the seventh inning as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles got past the Orix Buffaloes 4-2 in the Pacific League on Sunday afternoon.
Karashima (8-5) allowed two runs on four hits. Locating his fastball and throwing his changeup for effect, the lefty struck out five without issuing a walk. Three relievers finished off with Hiroyuki Fukuyama earning his fifth save in the place of injured closer Yuki Matsui.
Hiroaki Shimauchi and Zelous Wheeler each drove in two runs off Orix right-hander Yuki Nishi (5-6), who allowed four hits and two walks over seven innings.
Eagles leadoff hitter Eigoro Mogi opened the game with a double when Nishi missed over the plate with a fastball. Mogi sliced it down the left-field line for an opposite-field double.
On third after a groundout, Mogi scored easily on a solid sacrifice fly by Wheeler.
The Buffaloes tied it in the third when Orix catcher Hikaru Ito ran into a high straight fastball from Karashima and pulled it just over the wall at the foul pole for his third homer of the season. But Shimauchi hurt another Nishi mistake in the fourth to make it 3-1.
With one out and Japhet Amador on first, Nishi tried to go outside but missed over the plate. The left-handed-hitting Shimauchi hit it off the end of the bat, but the ball carried well to the opposite field for his 11th home run.
“It felt good coming off the bat, and it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those,” Shimauchi said. “Karashima did a good job. He had a nice tempo and worked aggressively.”
Wheeler belted his 25th home run with none on in the sixth, while Stefen Romero brought Orix within two runs in the seventh, when he led off with his 21st homer.
Hawks 3, Fighters 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda’s two-run home run and a solo homer by Alfredo Despaigne, both in the first inning, led Fukuoka SoftBank past Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
The Fighters, who stranded 11 runners, lost their sixth straight.
Dragons 7, Swallows 2
At Nagoya Dome, Alex Guerrero’s three-run, third-inning home run broke a 1-1 tie, and Nobumasa Fukuda’s three-run, sixth-inning homer sealed Chunichi’s win over Tokyo Yakult.