Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Kenya Wakatsuki leads Buffaloes past Hawks

Kyodo

Kenya Wakatsuki unloaded the bases with one swing, powering the Orix Buffaloes to a 6-4 win over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Sunday afternoon.

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning at Yafuoku Dome after Ryo Nishimura’s bases-loaded single tied the game 2-2, Wakatsuki drove a high 1-1 breaking ball to the wall in right to make it a 5-2 game.

Orix lefty Takahiro Matsuba (1-0) surrendered Seiji Uebayashi’s 16th home run to lead off the first inning, but Masataka Yoshida belted his 17th to tie it against Shota Takeda (3-8) in the top of the second. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, Nobuhiro Matsuda put the Hawks in front in the bottom of the inning with his 20th of the season.

Takeda, who was coming off his third shutout victory of the season, gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Nishimura, whose ground single tied it.

Wakatsuki put a beautiful swing on a high breaking ball and rocketed it off the low wall in right field. He stopped at first for a three-run single.

“The guys ahead of me set the table and I was going to give my all to bring someone home,” Wakatsuki, the Buffaloes No. 9 hitter said.

“We had given up some runs, so it was great to go out in front. I told him (Matsuba), ‘You’ve worked hard to be able to get to where you are now, just pitch the way you usually do, and we’ll be fine.’ “

Matsuba allowed three runs in five innings. He gave up seven hits but walked none and struck out none.

Four Orix relievers held the Hawks to a run on four hits over the final four innings, with closer Hirotoshi Masui snapping a difficult stretch with a scoreless ninth that earned him his 24th save but just his first since July 18.

Lions 7, Fighters 4

At MetLife Dome, six-time Pacific League home run champ Takeya Nakamura hit a game-tying, second-inning, three-run home run, his fourth in six games, and Shuta Tonosaki broke the 4-4 tie with his own three-run shot in the fifth inning.

Eagles 4, Marines 2

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Wataru Karashima (4-8) allowed a run over six innings, and rookie Kazuki Tanaka had two RBIs and three hits, including his 12th home run as Tohoku Rakuten defeated Chiba Lotte.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 2, Dragons 0

At Nagoya Dome, Nobutaka Imamura (3-2) allowed six hits but no walks in his first career shutout as Yomiuri beat Chunichi. Casey McGehee homered to open the scoring and Jorge Martinez capped the two-run fourth inning with an RBI double.

Tigers 3, Swallows 1

At Kyocera Dome, Masahiro Nakatani tripled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run as Hanshin came from behind in a two-run fifth inning to beat Tokyo Yakult, which had multiple runners on base in each of the first five innings.