Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Marines pound Hawks starter Shota Takeda, improve to 16-16

Kyodo

The Chiba Lotte Marines bludgeoned Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks starter Shota Takeda on their way to a 9-1 win on Friday.

By opening their series against the Pacific League leaders with a third straight win, Lotte improved to 16-16 and moved 3½ games back from the Hawks.

SoftBank manager Kimiyasu Kudo pulled Takeda (2-3) after just 3-2/3 innings at Yafuoku Dome. The right-handersurrendered eight earned runs on 10 hits and three walks while fanning three.

Marines starter Kota Futaki improved to 3-2 after going seven innings in which he struck out two, while allowing one earned run on five hits and a walk.

“My changeup wasn’t too bad, but I still need to make improvements,” said Futaki, who gave up his only run on a seventh-inning homer by Yurisbel Gracial.

“We’re riding a strong run of form, so it’d be good to keep it going and win the next two (in the series).”

Designated hitter Daichi Suzuki went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs to lead the offense for Lotte, which forced Takeda out of the game during a four-run rally in the top of the fourth. Seiya Inoue added a run and an RBI in a 3-for-3 night.

The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the first when Katsuya Kakunaka scored Takashi Ogino on a groundout. They added another three in the second on RBIs from Suzuki, Ogino and another from Kakunaka.

Kudo replaced Takeda with lefty Hiroyuki Kawahara after the Marines doubled the lead in the fourth with RBIs from Inoue and Brandon Laird, as well as a two-RBI single from Shogo Nakamura.

Fighters 7, Lions 5

At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasa (3-1) gave up five runs, but got the win with some help from his offense as Hokkaido Nippon Ham defeated Seibu.

Buffaloes 8, Eagles 6

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, last-place Orix picked up its second win in a row, topping Tohoku Rakuten.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 19, Swallows 7

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri pounded Tokyo Yakult in a four-hour run-fest at Tokyo Dome, including an eight-run outburst from the home side in the seventh inning.

The Giants finished with 23 hits.

Tigers 7, Dragons 3

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin did its damage in the second inning, rallying for five runs against Chunichi starter Katsuki Matayoshi (1-3) en route to victory.

BayStars 6, Carp 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yokohama’s Shota Imanaga (4-1) went seven innings and struck out seven for the win against Hiroshima.