TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. - Shogo Akiyama scored three runs on three hits, including a first-inning solo home run, while Hideto Asamura added a homer and three RBIs as the Seibu Lions topped the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 7-4 on Tuesday night.
Coming into the game with a .325 batting average, Akiyama set the tone by blasting a pitch from Fighters starter Takayuki Kato over the opposite field in the Lions’ first at-bat.
Shinsaburo Tawata (15-5) got the win for the league leaders after throwing 6 ⅓ shutout innings. He stuck out three while allowing seven hits and walking three.
Kato (5-7) took the loss after giving up all six Seibu runs on 10 hits over 5 ⅓ innings. He struck out two and walked two.
Akiyama’s solo shot, his 20th home run of the year, was the first of three hits Kato allowed in the opening inning. The lefty surrendered a second run when he walked Tomoya Mori with the bases loaded.
Seibu doubled the lead in the bottom of the second when Asamura blasted a two-run effort to right, scoring Akiyama.
PL home run leader Hotaka Yamakawa stretched the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth, going long for the 42nd time this season.
Akiyama registered his third hit in the sixth with a groundball double to right before scoring on an Asamura line drive against reliever Taisho Tamai.
Taishi Ota tried to rally the Fighters with a three-run homer off reliever Shogo Noda in the top of the seventh, but the runaway PL leaders were able to hold on for win No. 77.
Buffaloes 5, Eagles 3
Hawks 4, Marines 2