TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – Daiki Enokida got his first chance to face his former club and helped pitch the Seibu Lions to a 10-5 interleague win over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday.
Enokida (5-1) struck out five and allowed three runs over seven innings at MetLife Dome, while right-hander Shintaro Fujinami (0-2) got into early trouble that proved irrecoverable for Hanshin relievers.
The 31-year-old Enokida, traded to Seibu by the Tigers in March, said playing against his old teammates and in front of Hanshin fans motivated him towards his fifth win.
“I tried not to think about it so much, but after all, guys I played alongside were stepping into the batter’s box and I got pumped up,” he said.
“I played for Hanshin for seven years, and there are a lot of Hanshin fans here so I wanted to show them something good.”
After a hit and a fielding error put runners on first and third, Seibu leadoff batter Shogo Akiyama bolted home on a double steal for a first-inning lead.
Ernesto Mejia’s double to the left center wall drove in the second Lions’ run, but Fujinami shut the inning down after hitting Shuta Tonosaki.
In the fifth, Akiyama’s second hit was mishandled by right-fielder Kosuke Fukudome, allowing Yuji Kaneko to score, and Akiyama scored on Hideto Asamura’s RBI single, putting the Lions up 4-0.
In the sixth, Enokida walked two straight and gave up three runs after back-to-back hits from Masahiro Nakatani and Naomasa Yokawa. But the left-hander retired three straight to leave Yokawa stranded and save the Lions’ lead.
“I think I overdid it at the start,” Enokida said. “Around the fifth inning I began struggling, and they got to me in the sixth. But I threw for all I was worth.”
Fujinami left the mound after giving up a double and two more straight walks in the sixth — the final one to his catcher in high school, Tomoya Mori. Hanshin reliever Suguru Iwazaki immediately yielded a two-run single to Kaneko.
“Batting in front of me, Tomoya drew a walk. I wanted to do everything I could to help Enokida get a win against Hanshin,” Kaneko said. “I was happy the ball got through for a hit. I was thinking that it would make everyone happy.”
Iwazaki reloaded the bases as Kaneko stole second and Akiyama walked. After a force at the plate, Diego Moreno took the mound, walked Asamura and gave up a three-run double to Hotaka Yamakawa. The six-run, 10-batter inning put Seibu up by seven.
Enokida, who scattered five hits and three walks in the 111-pitch outing, left the game after a 1-2-3 seventh, and the Lions remained vigilant despite a two-run homer by Yokawa in the eighth to claim the three-game series and remain atop the Pacific League standings.
Swallows 3, Eagles 2
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Tomotaka Sakaguchi broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth by scoring his second run as Tokyo Yakult swept Tohoku Rakuten in a series between both leagues’ last-place clubs.
Sakaguchi drew a leadoff walk, stole second, went to third on a single and beat the throw home on a grounder to short. The Swallows have now won five straight for the first time in two years.
Buffaloes 3, Giants 2
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Chris Marrero’s second-inning homer gave Orix an early lead, and Stefen Romero drove in the tie-breaking run in the eighth to defeat Yomiuri.
Hawks 7, BayStars 5
At Yafuoku Dome, Seiji Uebayashi’s two-run shot in the third sealed the win, and Nobuhiro Matsuda’s second homer of the game capped a slugfest as Fukuoka SoftBank beat Yokohama to improve to 6-0 in interleague.
Marines 7, Carp 5
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Seiya Inoue, Daichi Suzuki, Tatsuhiro Tamura and Takashi Ogino each drove in a run with a two-out hit as Chiba Lotte came from behind in the sixth inning to beat Central League-leading Hiroshima for the second straight day.
Dragons 5, Fighters 2
At Sapporo Dome, Daisuke Yamai (2-0) threw six scoreless innings, while Dayan Viciedo scored two runs and drove in two in Chunichi’s win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
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