Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Eagles climb into first place in Pacific League

Kyodo

Opening Day starter Takayuki Kishi allowed three runs over six innings to win his first game of the season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, whose 6-5 victory over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday put them alone at the top of the Pacific League.

Kishi (1-0) was pitching for the second time since he injured his left hamstring in the season opener. He struck out eight, while giving up four hits but walking none.

The Eagles gave the right-hander a four-run first-inning lead against rookie sidearmer Rei Takahashi, capped by Jabari Blash’s 16th home run, a two-out, two-run shot.

Kishi allowed the Hawks to close within a run after solo homers by Seiichi Uchikawa in the fifth and Alfredo Despaigne in the sixth.

“You’d have to say getting four runs to open the game, really helps you settle in,” Kishi said.

“Most of the runs I allowed were on home runs, so I’ll need to pay more attention next time. I was diligent in my rehab so I could come back and contribute as quickly as possible. Now I want to do my work up here (with the first team).”

Hiroaki Shimauchi’s two-run, two-out seventh-inning single made it 6-4 Eagles and drove Takahashi from the game. Rakuten reliever Alan Busenitz held the Hawks scoreless in the seventh, but the hosts scored twice against Sung Chia-hao in the eighth to bring it down to the wire.

Eagles closer Yuki Matsui, however, struck out the side in the ninth to record his 15th save.

Marines 8, Lions 7 (10)

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Daichi Suzuki opened Chiba Lotte’s comeback with a two-run blast in the first inning and finished the scoring with a sayonara single in the 10th as the Marines twice came back from three-run deficits to beat Seibu.

Buffaloes 8, Fighters 8 (12)

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Taishi Ota hit a three-run, game-tying home run off Orix closer Hirotoshi Masui in the ninth and Hokkaido Nippon Ham played to a 12-inning tie with Orix, thanks to a good game-ending catch by Fighters center fielder Haruki Nishikawa.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 7, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Tokyo Yakult tied the league record of 16 straight losses set by the club in 1970, falling to Yokohama.

Noboru Shimizu (0-1), the Swallows’ top draft pick from last year, allowed five runs over four innings in his pro debut.

Taiga Kamichatani (3-3), the BayStars’ top draft selection in 2018, threw a four-hitter for his first career shutout.

Giants 6, Dragons 5

At Tokyo Dome, Hayato Sakamoto’s ninth-inning single lifted Yomiuri past Chunichi.

The Giants’ Christian Villaneuva tied it 4-4 with a grand slam in the sixth, while Shinosuke Abe gave them their first lead with a pinch-hit home run in the same frame.

Abe is the 19th player to reach 400 homers in NPB, and at 40 years, 2 months of age, the second-oldest to reach the milestone.

Carp 7, Tigers 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Kris Johnson (5-3) allowed a run over six innings, struck out six and singled in a run to win his fourth straight start as Hiroshima trounced Hanshin.