FUKUOKA – Yuki Matsumoto earned his first win of the season behind a six-home run barrage as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 11-5 on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks, third in the Pacific League, improved their record against the second-place Fighters this season to 8-11 as Matsumoto, SoftBank’s top draft pick in 2014, allowed three runs over 5⅔ innings. The right-hander allowed six hits while walking four and striking out five.
Matsumoto (1-0) gave up the game’s first run in the top of the first when Oswaldo Arcia hit his 13th home run of the season, but the Hawks’ hitters made sure he didn’t trail for long.
Taisei Makihara opened the home half of the first with a double and scored on Yuki Yanagita’s 25th home run of the year.
“I’m pretty happy. I thought if I pitched the way I did last week, then the team would be able to win,” said Matsumoto, who had allowed one run in seven innings the previous Sunday but did not get a decision.
“As the outs began to mount up today, I felt I was able to pitch my kind of game. It gave me strength to have the fans shouting for me during the game.”
The Hawks blew the contest open in the third against Hirotoshi Takanashi (5-7) on a solo home run by Seiji Uebayashi and a three-run blast by Akira Nakamura. Nobuhiro Matsuda hit two homers to bring his season total to 22, while Alfredo Despaigne hit his 25th.
“Yanagita got it started for us, and with the ball flying out, I wanted to hit one too,” Matsuda said. “I was so happy to get that first one. I was expecting a slider in that count and had a good swing.
“I didn’t hit much in April, May or June, or July too, for that matter. But I like the hot weather and I’m feeling good about my hitting.”
Buffaloes 3, Marines 2 (10)
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Yuya Oda singled with two outs in the 10th and scored the winning run on a single by veteran Hiroyuki Nakajima, to lift Orix to a walk-off win and a three-game sweep of Chiba Lotte.
Eagles 3, Lions 1 (12)
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Sung Chia-hao (4-2) pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the top of the 12th, and Eigoro Mogi belted a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.
Swallows 3, Dragons 1
At Nagoya Dome, Wladimir Balentien’s two-run home run put Yakult in the lead for the first time in a come-from-behind win.
Veteran lefty Masanori Ishikawa retired Chunichi’s first 21 batters but was on the hook for the loss until Balentien homered.
Giants 8, Carp 4
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, lefty Nobutaka Imamura (4-2) repeatedly pitched out of trouble to allow a run over seven innings to earn the win for Yomiuri, while Carp starter Yuya Fukui (0-3) coughed up six runs in four-plus innings.
BayStars 12, Tigers 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Neftali Soto had four hits, including two home runs, scored four runs.