Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Kensuke Kondo, Sho Nakata help Fighters rally past Lions

Kyodo

Kensuke Kondo and Sho Nakata capped a late rally on Sunday as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters fought back from a four-run deficit to claim a 6-5 win over the Saitama Seibu Lions.

In the eighth inning at MetLife Dome, Kondo blasted a shot off Lions reliever Kyle Martin (0-3) against the left center field wall to drive in the come-from-behind run. Nakata, who homered in the visitor’s first run, followed up with an RBI single for insurance.

Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa (4-2) allowed four runs over seven innings and picked up his fourth win. Seibu rookie Wataru Matsumoto pitched into the sixth in his second pro start but was not a factor in the decision as the Fighters ended the Lions’ five-game winning streak.

Matsumoto fanned six and avoided a few close calls until the fifth, when Nakata took him deep to put the Fighters on the board. Takuya Nakashima added a two-out, RBI double in the sixth before the 22-year-old was relieved.

Uwasawa did not yield a hit until he faced Yuji Kaneko in the third. The Lions’ outfielder singled, stole second and reached third on an overthrow, then crossed the plate on a grounder from Sosuke Genda, who made it to second on another fielding error.

Shuta Tonosaki and Hotaka Yamakawa each drove in runs for a 3-0 lead before Uwasawa coaxed an inning-ending fly out to short.

The right-hander got into a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth while Nippon Ham’s defense continued to flounder, with second baseman Ryo Watanabe mishandling a grounder from Kaneko that resulted in the Lions’ fourth run.

Seibu reliever Katsunori Hirai took over in the seventh and gave up two runs, including a game-tying RBI single to Kotaro Kiyomiya. The Fighters’ designated hitter was playing his third game since returning from a right-hand fracture that sidelined him in the preseason.

Side-arm right-hander Ryo Akiyoshi gave up a ninth-inning double to Kaneko but fanned Genda to keep the Fighters’ lead intact and pick up his eighth save.

Eagles 4, Buffaloes 1

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Kengo Horiuchi’s two-run RBI overturned the visitor’s early lead, while Ryota Ishibashi held the visitors to a run and got his first win as a starter in Rakuten’s 4-1 victory over Orix.

Marines 8, Hawks 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the Chiba Lotte Marines hammered out a big win over the PL-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks behind 6⅓ innings from Ayumu Ishikawa (2-2).

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 7, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Onelki Garcia (1-2) threw a four-hit, complete game shutout to pick up his first win pitching for the Hanshin Tigers as the visitor’s offense ignited en route to a pounding of Yokohama

Giants 5, Carp 4

At Tokyo Dome, Geronimo Franzua (4-2) got into a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth and gave up a game-winning sacrifice fly as the Yomiuri Giants ended a five-game losing skid with a 5-4 win over Hiroshima.

Dragons 10, Swallows 8