Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Otani fans nine, struggles with control in first 100-pitch outing of season

Kyodo

Hokkaido Nippon Ham hurler Shohei Otani struck out nine while giving up one run — a solo homer — over six innings in his fourth start this season as the Fighters defeated the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 6-4 on Thursday.

Otani (2-2) allowed five hits and struggled with his control as he issued five walks during his 108-pitch outing as representatives from 17 major league ballclubs watched the right-hander at Sapporo Dome.

“There was nothing good about my pitching today,” said the 23-year-old who surpassed 100 tosses for the first time this year, his fastball topping out at 162 kph. “I will learn from my mistakes and make adjustments for next time.”

Otani, who is expected to move to the big leagues this offseason using the posting system, mixed in high-speed forkballs of over 140 kph and sliders to pitch out of jams.

Seiji Uebayashi’s solo shot in the fourth was the only run that Otani allowed.

On offense for last year’s Japan Series champion, Sho Nakata opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first, and Go Matsumoto drove in two runs and Toshitake Yokoo belted a two-run home run two innings later to give the Fighters a 5-0 lead. Taishi Ota hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth for insurance.

Hawks starter Shota Takeda (5-3) left the mound with two outs in the fifth after surrendering six runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman.

Buffaloes 7, Eagles 4

At Sendai’s Kobo Park Miyagi, second-year Orix outfielder Masataka Yoshida belted a three-run homer off Tohoku Rakuten starter Takayuki Kishi (8-10) in the eighth to help lift Orix past the hosts.

Marines 4, Lions 3

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Chiba Lotte catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly and Jimmy Paredes drove in a run in the eighth to make it 3-1 and the team added another run in the ninth on a balk to edge Seibu.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 7, Carp 5

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin erased a five-run deficit against the Carp and Hiroki Uemoto smacked a two-run double in the eighth to defeat the