KOBE – Kohei Arihara worked eight innings Saturday to pick up his first win of the season on return from a right-shoulder injury as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters defeated the Orix Buffaloes 2-1.
In front of 17,443 at a rain-soaked Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Arihara allowed three hits while striking out nine in his 100-pitch effort.
Saturday’s game marked his return from shoulder inflammation experienced earlier in the year. After pulling out of spring training in Arizona in February, Arihara (1-0) had been practicing with the Fighters’ farm team in a bid to complete a third straight season with 10 or more wins.
“I’ve caused trouble to my team, so I wanted to win this game no matter what,” Arihara said. “The team struggled last season, so I want to deliver good results this year and be able to look back on it as a good season.”
Offensive support for the right-hander came in the top of the fourth. Kensuke Kondo drew a walk from Orix starter Yuki Nishi (0-3) and scored on Brandon Laird’s sacrifice fly to put the Fighters ahead.
Haruki Nishikawa went 2-for-5, including an RBI double in the seventh inning. Nishikawa slapped a 2-1 curveball to right to make it 2-1.
Chris Marrero’s eighth-inning solo home run was not enough for the Buffaloes.
Nishi was tagged with his third consecutive loss.
Lions 5, Eagles 1
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Shinsaburo Tawata pitched a complete game, fanning five, walking one and allowing just four hits, leading Seibu to its third win in a row.
Marines at Hawks — ppd.
Swallows 6, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, Masanori Ishikawa and the Yakult bullpen shut out the Tigers to stay within half a game of the Central League-leading BayStars.
BayStars 2, Dragons 0
At Yokohama Stadium, solo homers from Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Jose Lopez propelled Yokohama past Chunichi.
Carp 3, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima bounced back after giving up 10 runs in its series-opening loss the previous day, with Kris Johnson pitching eight innings for the win.