TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ lineup combined for 16 hits on Sunday to claim their three-game series on the road against the Saitama Seibu Lions.
While the Hawks’ bullpen thwarted the Pacific League’s defending champions, last year’s Japan Series winners had back-to-back five-run innings in their 16-5 victory over the Lions at MetLife Dome.
SoftBank catcher Takuya Kai, the 2018 Japan Series MVP, opened the scoring by leading off the third with a home run and drove in the first of five runs in the fourth against Seibu starter Kona Takahashi (2-2). The right-hander gave up seven hits and six runs over four innings.
In the fifth, SoftBank rookie Ukyo Shuto hit his first career home run — a two-out three-run shot to right — to cap another five-run rally after Lions’ reliever Hayato Takagi got into a bases-loaded jam.
Hawks right-hander Rei Takahashi (4-0) was solid through four innings, but the rookie loaded the bases in the fifth and allowed two runs on a walk and a balk. Ren Kajiya took over in the sixth and yielded two runs, including a solo shot to Shuta Tonosaki.
After Kenta Imamiya’s RBI single in the ninth, veteran SoftBank slugger Nobuhiro Matsuda added a two-run blast before Yuki Mima’s solo shot wrapped up the scoring.
Eagles 7, Buffaloes 3
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Motohiro Shima’s two-run homer in the second spurred Rakuten to a 7-3 win over Orix. Yoshinao Kamata (1-0) picked up his first win in two years.
Fighters 2, Marines 1
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Nippon Ham’s Kohei Arihara (3-0) threw his fourth solid start, allowing one run over six innings in a win over Lotte.
Giants 3, Tigers 0
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Cristopher Mercedes (2-1) tossed seven scoreless innings in Yomiuri’s 3-0 win against Hanshin.
Dragons 7, Swallows 5
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi beat Yakult starter Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-2) for the second straight time, tagging him for five runs.
Carp 7, BayStars 4
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi (1-1), making a rare start, allowed four runs in one inning to take the loss as Hiroshima beat Yokohama 7-4. Xavier Batista went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a home run.