• Kyodo


Zelous Wheeler belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles came from behind to beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 3-2 in the Pacific League on Wednesday.

With two outs and Hiroaki Shimauchi on first, Wheeler sent reliever Hiroshi Urano’s 1-1 pitch deep over the left field wall to put the Eagles in the driver’s seat.

The Fighters had taken the lead in the top of the inning when Toshitake Yokoo hit a double off reliever Frank Herrmann to score Kensuke Kondo and Sho Nakata at a chilly Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

After five scoreless innings, Wheeler gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Hideto Asamura with a double to center off Fighters starter Bryan Rodriguez. Wheeler finished the game with a run, two hits and three RBIs in four plate appearances.

The 4-1 Eagles, who finished last year at the bottom of the PL standings, are firmly focused on putting together a winning season, the American said.

“Every day we come out here and play to win. We’re doing a great job now, and hats off to everybody,” Wheeler said.

The former major leaguer has racked up four home runs just five games into the season.

“I’m not worried about (my) stats,” he said. “We win together, we lose together.”

The Eagles gave Yuya Fukui his first regular-season start since joining from the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp. The right-hander fanned three while giving up four hits and issuing four walks in five scoreless innings.

Rodriguez completed six innings for the Fighters, striking out five and allowing one run on six hits and a pair of walks.

Hermann (1-0) got the win, while closer Yuki Matsui picked up his second save. Urano (1-1) took the loss after surrendering two runs on three hits and a walk.

The Eagles, who opened the series on Tuesday with a 3-1 win, will aim to sweep the Fighters when they face off for a third time on Thursday.

Hawks 0, Buffaloes 0 (12)

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, SoftBank and Orix remained scoreless after 12 innings and 3 hours, 47 minutes in NPB’s first tie of the season.

The Buffaloes got a gem from starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who took a no-hitter into the eighth and allowed only a single by Nobuhiro Matsuda in nine innings on the mound. Yamamoto struck out eight and walked two batters.

Lions 9, Marines 3

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Takeya Nakamura drove in four runs on a pair of hits as Seibu clobbered Chiba Lotte.


Giants 6, Tigers 3

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri defeated the Tigers to earn its fourth victory in a row.

Christopher Mercedes got the win after going eight innings for the Kyojin.

Swallows 5, BayStars 4

At Jingu Stadium, Yuhei Takai tied the game with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth as the Swallows came back to beat Yokohama.

Carp 3, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Hiroshima rode a seventh-inning rally to a win on the road against Chunichi.

Ryosuke Kikuchi extended the seventh with a two-out double, Takayoshi Noma drew a walk and Seiya Suzuki connected on a three-run homer to give the Carp a 3-1 lead.

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