SAPPORO – Starter Bryan Rodriguez battled through five innings before the bullpen took care of the rest as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters held on for a 5-4 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Pacific League on Wednesday night.
Dominican right-hander Rodriguez improved to 3-2 after striking out three, walking three and surrendering three earned runs on nine hits in his eighth game for the PL Climax Series-bound Fighters.
Relievers Takayuki Kato, Kazutomo Iguchi and Hiroshi Urano contributed an inning apiece before closer Naoya Ishikawa finished the job with a three-up, three-down ninth inning at Sapporo Dome.
Lotte starter Daiki Yamamoto (0-1) took the loss, getting yanked after three innings in which he walked four and gave up a pair of earned runs on five hits.
The Fighters got on the board in the bottom of the first when Sho Nakata hit a line drive single to left off Yamamoto, scoring Haruki Nishikawa.
Yamamoto started the frame by walking Nishikawa, who stole second before advancing to third on Taishi Ota’s sacrifice grounder.
Ota ignited a three-run rally in the third, running home from second when Lotte catcher Yuta Yoshida threw wide of first base in an attempt to pick off Takeshi Kondo.
Yamamoto then walked Oswaldo Arcia before Ryo Watanabe brought in Kensuke Kondo with a single to left. Toshitake Yokoo added an RBI single to score Arcia.
Rodriguez surrendered his first run of the game in the top of the fourth when Tsuyoshi Sugano hit a double to center that brought home Hiromi Oka.
Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi replaced Yamamoto with Chen Kuan-yu to start the fourth, and the Taiwanese left-hander promptly gave up a home run, letting Yushi Shimizu blast his first pitch, a 142-kph fastball, into the center field stands.
The Marines added a pair in the top of the fifth through a two-run double from Taiga Hirasawa. With the count at 2-1 and two out, the left-handed hitter flew deep to left off Rodriguez, scoring Katsuya Kakunaka and Oka.
Oka narrowed the margin to a single run when he scored Daichi Suzuki with a double in the seventh.
Tigers 2, BayStars 1
At Hyogo Prefecture’s Koshien Stadium, Hanshin hung on for the win against Yokohama after both sides went deep into their bullpens.
Naomasa Yokawa drove in the winning run with a double off Shota Imanaga in the bottom of the seventh.