CHIBA – Takashi Ogino and Katsuya Kakunaka saw to it that pitcher Mike Bolsinger got his customary run support as the Chiba Lotte Marines beat the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp 7-3 in interleague play on Saturday.
Bolsinger (6-1) won his fifth straight start after allowing three runs in seven-plus innings before a full house at Zozo Marine Stadium. The Marines have scored six or more runs in each of those wins.
“Every time I come up on the (hero interview) stage, I feel like I’m congratulating our hitters. They’re always putting me in a good position to pitch, so again I thank them. Every game I thank them,” said Bolsinger, who gave up seven hits and two walks, while striking out two.
Ogino had four of the Marines’ 15 hits and scored three runs. Kakunaka, the Marines’ cleanup hitter, went 3-for-3 with a walk and a home run and drove in three runs. The big gun in manager Tadahito Iguchi’s offense, Kakunaka’s season didn’t start until May 11 due to a back injury he suffered in the preseason.
“I was just really grinding today. Little by little, I think I’m putting things together at the plate,” said Kakunaka, who drove in Ogino with a first-inning RBI single to put Lotte in front.
After the Carp rallied for three runs in the sixth to trim Lotte’s lead to 4-3, Kakunaka homered with a runner on.
Bolsinger ran into trouble in the second, when he allowed a leadoff double and a no-out walk, but did not allow a run until the sixth, when the CL’s top offense finally got some traction.
“I’ve watched previous games of this team and they usually have big innings, so I wanted to make sure they didn’t have a big inning that would take us out of the ball game,” Bolsinger said. “Today I was locating the ball really well, and had great defense behind me. It was a great team win.
“This is one of the loudest games I’ve pitched in in my entire life. I love it. I love these fans,” he said.
Bolsinger was yanked after allowing a leadoff infield single in the eighth, but the Lotte bullpen was up to the task and closed out the game without incident.
Hawks 5, BayStars 4
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Seiji Uebayashi put Fukuoka SoftBank in front with a home run for the second straight day, snapping a 3-3, seventh-inning tie with his fifth homer of the season as the Hawks downed Yokohama to improve to 5-0 in interleague.
Tigers 10, Lions 5
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Yoshio Itoi homered and drove in six runs, four with a grand slam that overcame a one-run deficit, and Kento Itohara reached base and scored three times as Hanshin came from behind to beat Pacific League-leading Seibu.
Swallows 3, Eagles 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s two-out, eighth-inning double broke a 2-2 tie on the 121st pitch from Takahiro Norimoto (4-5) as Tokyo Yakult got past Tohoku Rakuten.
Buffaloes 3, Giants 2 (12)
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, one strike away from a tie game, seldom-used substitute Torai Fushimi’s two-out, 12th-inning RBI pinch-hit double lifted Orix to a sayonara victory over Yomiuri.
Kazuma Okamoto homered to open the scoring and singled in the tying run for the visitors in the eighth.
Fighters 9, Dragons 3
At Sapporo Dome, Taishi Ota, Brandon Laird and Sho Nakata each homered as Hokkaido Nippon Ham bombarded Chunichi.