Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Eagles’ Takero Okajima comes through with game-winning double in ninth against Hawks

Kyodo

Motohiro Shima delivered a game-tying, eighth-inning RBI double and Takero Okajima doubled in the winning run in the ninth as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles rallied to beat the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 4-3 on Thursday.

Okajima, who walked and scored the tying run in the eighth, doubled off right-hander Yuito Mori (0-2) to end the 4-hour, 4-minute game at Rakuten Seimei Park. Toshiaki Imae led off the inning with a single and scored the winning run.

“I went up the plate with a strong determination to hit since we all worked together to create that scoring opportunity,” said Okajima, who is now batting .207. “I haven’t been pulling my weight lately, so I really wanted to get a hit.”

Okajima drew his second walk of the game to lead off the eighth and was sacrificed to second. Shima doubled off lefty Livan Moinelo to tie it at 3-3 with one out.

Nobuhiro Matsuda celebrated his 35th birthday by breaking a 1-1 tie with a fifth-inning, bases-loaded RBI single off starter Takayuki Kishi, but the Hawks were unable to complete a three-game sweep.

SoftBank leadoff man Akira Nakamura singled to open the game and scored on Yuki Yanagita’s RBI double, but Imae singled in the bottom of the inning to even things up.

Yanagita again put SoftBank in front with a third-inning RBI triple, but Rakuten’s Yasuhito Uchida homered off Hawks starter Kenichi Nakata to tie it again in the fourth.

Frank Herrmann (1-1) picked up his first win of the season after striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Buffaloes 6, Marines 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yuya Ota entered the game as a seventh-inning pinch runner but broke a 3-3, ninth-inning tie with a one-out, two-run single as Orix held off Chiba Lotte.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

BayStars 6, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, Neftali Soto singled home Yamato Maeda to break a 1-1, fifth-inning tie and scored when Jose Lopez followed with the first of his two home runs as Yokohama topped Hanshin.

Carp 3, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Seiya Suzuki’s ninth-inning solo home run lifted league-leading Hiroshima over Chunichi.

The Carp snapped a five-game losing streak against the Dragons.