• Kyodo


Right-hander Toshihiro Sugiura threw five hitless innings and earned his first win in his Nippon Ham debut as the Fighters beat the SoftBank Hawks 3-2 on Saturday.

In front of 36,751 at Sapporo Dome, Sugiura struck out five of the 16 batters he faced and did not issue a single walk. The 26-year-old, who was acquired from the Yakult Swallows last July, had been sidelined due to a right-shoulder injury.

“Many people have supported me throughout the way so I just wanted to express my gratitude,” said Sugiura, who earned his first win in two years.

Sugiura pitched four perfect innings, but hit the first batter in the fifth with a pitch. But he bounced back by retiring the next three batters to end the inning.

“I just wanted to keep throwing one pitch at a time,” Sugiura said. “My teammates gave me offensive support in the first inning so I was able to concentrate well.”

Sho Nakata blasted a first-inning, two-run home run off right-hander Tadashi Settsu (2-3) after Go Matsumoto drove in the opening run to put the Fighters on the board.

The Hawks had numerous chances to tie the score.

Lefty Naoki Miyanishi, the third of five Nippon Ham relievers, got into a bases-loaded jam after allowing three singles in the seventh. Keizo Kawashima drove in SoftBank’s first run of the game with a sacrifice fly, but Miyanishi was able to close the inning without further damage being done.

In the ninth inning, Taisei Makihara singled and scored on Kenta Imamiya’s sacrifice fly for SoftBank’s second and final run.

Eagles 9, Lions 7

At MetLife Dome, Kazuki Tanaka hit an eighth-inning grand slam against Seibu reliever Shota Takekuma (1-2) to earn Rakuten a come-from-behind win over the Pacific League leaders. Hideto Asamura and Takeya Nakamura each homered twice for the Lions.

Marines 2, Buffaloes 1

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Tatsuhiro Tamura drove in two runs in the seventh to overturn Orix’s lead, while Lotte right-hander Mike Bolsinger (12-1) fanned three and scattered six hits over eight innings. Naoya Masuda earned his first save of the season for a perfect ninth.


Swallows 7, Dragons 5

At Jingu Stadium, Nobumasa Fukuda’s second home run of the game in the ninth gave Chunichi the lead again, but Shingo Kawabata’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning capped a late rally and a Yakult walk-off win.

Tigers 7, BayStars 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Hanshin outslugged their hosts as Yoshio Itoi blasted a three-run shot in the third and Wilin Rosario homered twice and doubled in a run. Rafael Dolis earned his 20th save for a 1-2-3 ninth. Jose Lopez and Neftali Soto homered for DeNA.

Carp 7, Giants 5

At Mazda Stadium, the Hiroshima lineup combined for 11 hits against Yomiuri starter Tomoyuki Sugano (9-6), and fifth-inning RBIs from Ryoma Nishikawa and Tsubasa Aizawa clinched the win for Central League-leading Hiroshima.

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