Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Lions rally past Buffaloes for eighth straight victory

Kyodo

The Seibu Lions came from behind to beat the Orix Buffaloes 7-4 on Sunday to run their season-opening win streak to eight games.

The Buffaloes small-balled their way to a 2-0 lead, giving starter Taisuke Yamaoka the edge in a pitchers’ duel with Seibu’s Brian Wolfe.

A walk, a sacrifice, and an RBI single opened the scoring in the first for the Buffaloes, and Stefen Romero singled in the fifth and scored from third on the delayed front end of a double steal.

The momentum shifted to the home team in the bottom of the fifth.

Seibu slugger Hotaka Yamakawa doubled and scored on a double-play grounder, and the Lions hitters devoured Yamaoka in his third trip through the lineup.

After pitching out of a sixth-inning jam, Yamaoka failed to retire a batter in the seventh. He surrendered a Yamakawa leadoff single, a Tomoya Mori double, a walk to slugger Takeya Nakamura and a two-run RBI single to Shuta Tonosaki that put the Lions in front.

Then, Orix infielder Kohei Suzuki, who entered as a defensive replacement at the start of the inning at third, bounced his throw on the ensuing sacrifice, allowing another run to score and making it 4-2 Lions.

Orix reliever Kazumasa Yoshida took over for Yamaoka and surrendered a sacrifice fly before Shogo Akiyama drove in a run with a single and Sosuke Genda hit an RBI double.

Wolfe allowed two runs on four hits and a walk over six innings, and struck out two.

The Buffaloes threatened in the seventh and eighth against a parade of Lions relievers, and finally broke through for two against Neil Wagner in the ninth.

The right-hander was taken out of the game after being hit by a batted ball, with Tatsushi Masuda coming on in relief. Masuda allowed a pair of runs, both charged to Wagner, before recording the final two outs.

Lefty Shota Takekuma (1-0), one of six Seibu relievers, pitched two-thirds of an inning to earn the win.

Yamaoka (0-2) was charged with six runs, three earned, on seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight.

Hawks 5, Eagles 4

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, SoftBank’s Kenichi Nakata (1-0) threw seven scoreless innings to earn the win, and the bottom half of the SoftBank lineup drove in four late runs.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 7, Giants 4

At Jingu Stadium, Wladimir Balentien homered and drove in four runs and Tokyo Yakult’s bullpen supplied five scoreless innings.

After Yomiuri tied it at 4-4 in the fourth, Taishi Hirooka’s sacrifice fly put the hosts ahead for good as they completed a three-game sweep.

BayStars 5, Carp 3

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo went 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs as Yokohama ended its three-game series against Hiroshima with a pair of wins.

Dragons 9, Tigers 6

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