KOBE – Shinsaburo Tawata bounced back from his worst start of the season with a six-hit shutout as the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions beat the Orix Buffaloes 7-0 on Saturday.
Coming off his first loss of the season, Tawata (7-1) struck out five and walked one but needed to pitch out of a ninth-inning jam to preserve the whitewash and notch his seventh win.
“I left the mound early in my last game, so today I wanted more than ever to do it all myself,” said Tawata, who matched his career high in wins. “It’s a long season, and I have just braced myself for the long haul.”
The Lions, who had lost their previous two games, opened the scoring in a four-run fifth inning against 22-year-old right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka (2-5).
Tomoya Mori’s opposite-field double down the left-field line, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch broke the ice. A four-pitch walk was followed by Ernesto Mejia’s second homer of the season, and Yuji Kaneko capped the inning’s scoring by manufacturing a fourth run.
The Seibu speedster reached on a one-out error, stole second and third, and scored on another wild pitch. The two steals lifted Kaneko’s season total to 14. Yamaoka’s three wild pitches in the inning tied an NPB record.
Lions cleanup hitter Hotaka Yamakawa finished the scoring at Hotto Motto Field Kobe with his league-leading 13th home run.
Yamaoka allowed four runs — three earned — on four hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out three.
Marines 8, Hawks 1
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, former Dodger Mike Bolsinger (4-1) allowed four hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings, and Katsuya Kakunaka drove in three runs to power Chiba Lotte to its second straight win over Fukuoka SoftBank.
Eagles 5, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, Takahiro Norimoto (4-3) struck out 11 in eight innings, and Yasuhito Uchida’s two-run, second-inning home run put Tohoku Rakuten ahead for good against Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Norimoto became the 349th player in NPB history to pitch 1,000 innings.
Carp 5, Swallows 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Takayoshi Noma’s first home run in three seasons, a third-inning grand slam brought league-leading Hiroshima from behind against Tokyo Yakult.
Swallows leadoff man Tetsuto Yamada scored twice to raise his run scored total to a Japan-leading 38.
Dragons 3, Tigers 2
At Nagoya Dome, Onelki Garcia (5-1) allowed a run in seven innings, and Dayan Viciedo’s two-run, sixth-inning double overturned a 1-0 deficit as Chunichi rallied to beat Hanshin.
BayStars 5, Giants 1
At Tokyo Dome, five Yokohama relievers held Yomiuri scoreless after starting pitcher Haruhiro Hamaguchi was pulled after walking four in four innings but allowing just one run.
The BayStars took a first-inning lead on Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s second two-run home run in two games.