HIROSHIMA – Yuta Nakamura won his season debut, allowing one run over seven innings and also driving in a run to lead the Hiroshima Carp to a 3-2 victory over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Wednesday.
Pitching before 31,473 at Mazda Stadium, Nakamura struck out six, while giving up just two hits, a pair of walks and also hitting a batter. He also helped the Carp take advantage of Yakult starter David Huff’s one bad inning with a hit of his own.
Huff (0-2) did not allow a runner until Yuki Mima drew a leadoff walk in the third. Tsubasa Aizawa followed with a single that left runners on the corners for Nakamura, who opened the scoring with a single to center. The Carp added another later in the frame on a sacrifice fly by Yoshihiro Maru.
“I was told to try and give it my best swing and it worked out,” said Nakamura, whose lively fastball helped him strike out the side, all swinging, in the first inning.
“I was thinking that can’t last and was prepared for the worst, but the fielders made some great plays behind me and Tsubasa called a great game behind the plate.”
Yakult’s young power-hitting shortstop Taishi Hirooka hit his first home run of the season in the fifth to make it 2-1, but the visitors gave away an insurance run in the seventh on a two-base throwing error.
With two outs, pinch runner Tomohiro Abe tried to steal second, and catcher Yuhei Nakamura’s throw got past not only his shortstop but center fielder Norichika Aoki as well. As Aoki tracked the ball down in deep center field, the speedy Abe motored home.
The Swallows kept it close in the eighth against Jay Jackson on Tetsuto Yamada’s second home run in two nights, but Naomichi Nishiura was out at second trying to steal with Wladimir Balentien at the plate.
Balentien doubled to open the ninth against closer Shota Nakazaki, who kept him from scoring to lock down his seventh save.
Huff allowed two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four in six innings.
Tigers 4, Dragons 3
At Nagoya Dome, Randy Messenger (3-1) allowed two runs in six innings but retired 14 straight batters after surrendering a first-inning run, and Hanshin came from behind in a four-run sixth inning to beat Chunichi.
Hawks 5, Eagles 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Rick van den Hurk (2-1) allowed two runs in seven innings, Takuya Kai singled home two runs and scored one, and Yuito Mori saved his second straight game in the absence of closer Dennis Sarfate as Fukuoka SoftBank beat Tohoku Rakuten.
Buffaloes 4, Marines 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Orix chased Lotte’s Yuki Karakawa (0-1) in a four-run sixth after the right-hander retired the first 16 batters he faced.
Andrew Albers (2-0) allowed a run in five innings to earn the win.
Lions 9, Fighters 8
At Torozawa’s MetLife Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham wasted seven scoreless innings from starter Hirotoshi Takanashi, and allowed Seibu to overcome an 8-0 deficit.
Tomoya Mori’s two-run, ninth-inning double lifted the Lions to a walk-off win.
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