CHIBA – The Chiba Lotte Marines remained the masters of the Pacific League’s powerhouse club, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, beating the defending Japan Series champs 1-0 on Wednesday for their second straight shutout win.
Rookie right-hander Daiki Iwashita (1-0) scattered a hit, three walks and a hit batsman while striking out three to outduel Kotaro Otake (0-1).
“Yesterday (Hideaki) Wakui shut them down to get us going in a good direction,” the 22-year-old Iwashita said. “The fielders did a great job, and that helped me to pitch well. Basically, all I have is a fastball, so I have to be bold with it.
“Watching Wakui yesterday left me with an impression of what an ace pitcher has to do. That’s the kind of pitcher I want to be,” he said.
The Hawks lefty went the distance, allowing a run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out four.
The Marines scored their only run on three fifth-inning singles by Kennys Vargas, catcher Yuta Yoshida and Takashi Ogino before a crowd of 15,319 at Zozo Marine Stadium.
“Iwashita did a super job of keeping them off the board, so we all wanted to get some runs for him,” Ogino said. “To be honest, I didn’t hit it that well, but I’m giving it my best every day.”
The last-place Marines improved to 4-1 against the two-time defending Japan Series champs and moved to 6-10 on the season.
“Again our starting pitcher was rock solid,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “This was a tough game, but the defense kept them off the board so we could hang on to the win.
“Last time he (Iwashita) gave us six great innings.
“(Yoshida) called a great game for us, allowing us to shut down a very powerful Hawks lineup, by working very aggressively,” he said.
“We had situations where we failed to score, so getting that one run and protecting that lead was the key. Now we want another win so we can get back to .500.”
Buffaloes 6, Fighters 4
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Masataka Yoshida opened the scoring by homering for the third-straight game as Orix overcame a four-hit, three RBI night from Taiwanese star Wang Po-jung to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Eagles 7, Lions 4
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Hideto Asamura, who left Seibu as a free agent over the winter, hit his 150th career home run, a three-run shot, to help the Eagles beat his former club.
Asamura’s first career homer came for the Lions against Rakuten.
Carp 5, Giants 4
At Kumamoto’s Fujisakidai Stadium, the three-time defending CL champion Carp scored three runs in the ninth off Yomiuri closer Ryan Cook (0-1) to secure the win.
Ryosuke Kikuchi scored the tiebreaking run on a single by Yoshiyuki Ishihara.
Dragons 3, BayStars 1
At Nagoya Dome, Daisuke Yamai (2-0) allowed a run in 5⅔ innings as Chunichi beat Yokohama.
Tigers 2, Swallows 2 (12)
At Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Wladimir Balentien hit a game-tying two-run single in the eighth inning, but neither side managed to score again after that.