OSAKA – Kona Takahashi looked rusty in his first start of the season, but the Seibu Lions’ hitters kept him in the game in a 7-6 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday.
Takahashi (1-0) allowed four runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batsman over six innings, but it was Ernesto Mejia’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly that broke a 4-4 tie and enabled the right-hander to walk away with a win.
“They scored four runs off me, but the hitters put some runs on the board and I’m grateful to them,” said the 21-year-old Takahashi.
“No matter what it took, I felt I had to win. I walked guys and hit guys, but when I did, I was able to maintain my focus on the next hitter. With this offense, you can win if you can just hold on somehow because they will battle and score runs.”
Six-time PL home run champ Takeya Nakamura continued his torrid hitting. The portly slugger capped a four-run first inning off Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko (4-7) with a two-run double. Nakamura then put the game out of reach with his fourth home run in four games, a two-out, two-run shot in the eighth that made it 7-4.
Kaneko also worked six innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits and two walks.
Seibu used five relievers to get the game in the bag, with Deunte Heath working the ninth for his third straight save.
Fighters 2, Eagles 1
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Toru Murata (4-2) pitched out of frequent trouble to outduel Tohoku Rakuten’s Yuri Furukawa (4-4) thanks to a leadoff home run by Haruki Nishikawa and Oswaldo Arcia’s RBI single that capped the two-run, first inning.
Softbank at Marines — ppd.CENTRAL LEAGUE
Giants 3, Tigers 1
At Tokyo Dome, Mitsuo Yoshikawa (5-3) pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning to complete six scoreless frames, and veteran Shinnosuke Abe hit a three-run, first-inning home run as Yomiuri held off Hanshin.
Carp 7, Dragons 5
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, five different Carp hitters drove in runs, with Tsubasa Aizawa breaking a 5-5, seventh-inning tie with a two-out RBI single in a win over Chunichi.
BayStars at Swallows — ppd.