Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Arihara, Drake lead Fighters to win over Hawks

Kyodo

Kohei Arihara threw a four-hitter on Wednesday, pitching the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to a 3-1 win over the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Before 15,111 at Asahikawa Starffin Stadium in central Hokkaido, Arihara (7-11) allowed a run without issuing a walk. The right-hander needed just 99 pitches to finish the gem in which he struck out seven. It was his fourth complete game of the season, but his first victory after three losses.

The Fighters scratched out a first-inning run against Rick van den Hurk (12-6) on a Haruki Nishikawa leadoff walk, a stolen base and a Go Matsumoto single. The Hawks tied it on their first hit of the game, Kenta Imamiya’s one-out, fourth-inning home run off the foul pole in right field.

Yadir Drake, however, homered to lead off the Fighters’ fourth. After back-to-back one-out singles by Tomoya Ichikawa and Kazunari Ishii, Nishikawa singled in the Fighters’ third run.

“I’m really happy,” said Arihara, who beat the Hawks for the first time this year. “We were in need of something to turn things our way, so I’m grateful to Mr. Drake.”

The homer was Drake’s first since he joined the team in the summer.

“I’m really happy with this,” he said. “I had looked forward to this, it’s unfortunate it took this long.”

Arihara surrendered some hard-hit balls in the top of the fifth, but a good play by Drake in left field robbed Alfredo Despaigne of a leadoff hit. Nobuhiro Matsuda’s smoking liner to third was also caught, allowing Arihara to work around a two-out double.

“They hit a lot of tough balls, so I’m really thankful to the fielders for making the plays,” Arihara said.

Van den Hurk ran up his pitch count getting out of jams, and lasted only five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks on 103 pitches. He struck out five.

Buffaloes 7, Marines 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko (10-7) went the distance, and Lotte reliever Masaki Minami (0-1) allowed the visitors to blow the game open in a five-run seventh inning, highlighted by Takahiro Okada’s grand slam.

Lions 8, Eagles 8 (8)

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 6, Carp 4

At Tokyo Dome, catcher Seiji Kobayashi singled, homered and scored two runs as Yomiuri hammered Hiroshima starter Daichi Osera (8-2) for five runs on nine hits over five innings.

BayStars 6, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Jose Lopez hit a two-run double and a two-run home run to lead Yokohama past Chunichi.

Tigers 4, Swallows 3 (10)

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, rookie Yusuke Oyama went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Yoshio Itoi homered with two outs in the 10th to lift Hanshin to a walk-off win over Tokyo Yakult.

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