FUKUOKA – Rei Takahashi pitched seven solid innings on Sunday, and his Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks teammates blasted seven home runs in an 11-1 Pacific League win over the Chiba Lotte Marines.
A day after suffering their second straight loss to the Marines, the Hawks offense pulled off a strong comeback to salvage the final game of their three-game series at Yafuoku Dome.
Takahashi (2-0) limited the visitors to two hits, a walk and two hit batters, while striking out four in a 114-pitch effort. He worked five scoreless innings until Shohei Kato, who reached base with a double, scored on center fielder Yuki Yanagita’s error in the sixth.
“I don’t have much experience as a starter so I wanted to go as far as I could,” said Takahashi. “I think my strength is picking up the tempo and not giving hitters time to think. So I think it’s good I was able to do that.”
“I want to pitch an additional inning in my next game. What I need to do remains the same (even with the second win),” he said.
Yanagita opened the scoring in the first with his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot against right-hander Yuki Ariyoshi (0-2). Cleanup hitter Alfredo Despaigne’s three-run homer put the game out of reach in the third before Seiichi Uchikawa followed with a solo shot.
The SoftBank hitters picked up additional momentum, homering four times in a five-run eighth. Nobuhiro Matsuda led off with a solo homer, before Seiji Uebayashi, Go Kamamoto and Shuhei Fukuda also went deep against right-hander Taiki Tojo.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 5 (12)
the Rakuten Eagles battled back from five runs down to finish with a 5-5, 12-inning tie against the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome Osaka. Rakuten captain Ginji Akiminai caught the last three innings. A former minor league catcher, Akaminai had not caught since 2009.
Lions 4, Fighters 2
At Tokyo Dome, Shuta Tonosaki’s ninth-inning, three-run homer lifted the Saitama Seibu Lions to a 4-2, come-from-behind victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
Dragons 3, Swallows 1
At Jingu Stadium, right-hander Yuya Yanagi (1-0) surrendered a run on three hits and a walk over eight innings in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-1 win over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
BayStars 5, Giants 1
In Yokohama, the DeNA BayStars beat the Yomiuri Giants for the second straight day, 5-1.
Tigers 9, Carp 0
In Hiroshima, righty Yuki Nishi (1-1) pitched a six-hit shutout as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Hiroshima Carp 9-0. Nishi picked up his first win since signing over the winter as a free agent.
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