FUKUOKA - The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks made the most of having former ace Tsuyoshi Wada on the mound for the first time since 2017 in a 5-2 interleague win over the Chunichi Dragons on Wednesday.
Wada, who has not pitched since the 2017 Japan Series due to shoulder issues, allowed two runs over five innings and did not figure in the decision after leaving with the game tied 2-2.
Rookie Arata Shiino (1-1) worked a scoreless sixth inning and earned the win after Alfredo Despaigne put SoftBank in front for good with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning off Dragons starter Yudai Ono (3-4).
“I’d been watching him from the bullpen and saw how well he pitched,” Shiino said. “Taking over from Wada gave me strength.”
Shota Takeda and Livan Moinelo added two more perfect innings, with Moinelo striking out the heart of the Dragons order in the eighth.
After Despaigne and Moinelo had their say, Yurisbel Gracial made it a hat-trick for the Hawks’ Cuban contingent with his 11th homer, a two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth.
Closer Yuito Mori worked around two hits to record his 15th save.
The Dragons opened the scoring on a Toshiki Abe sacrifice fly in the second.
Home runs by Nobuhiro Matsuda and Seiichi Uchikawa in the home half gave Wada the lead, but Chunichi’s Dayan Viciedo tied it with a home run of his own in the top of the fourth.
Carp 9, Lions 1
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Hiroshima shortstop Kosuke Tanaka, who has struggled all season at the plate, went 3-for-4 with a double, a tiebreaking RBI single and a grand slam as the three-time defending Central League champs whipped the defending Pacific League champions.
Swallows 5, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, veteran Yakult lefty Masanori Ishikawa (2-3) allowed three hits over eight innings in a win that snapped Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s seven-game winning streak.
Buffaloes 5, BayStars 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Daiki Tajima (1-0) worked five innings and four relievers completed a four-hit shutout.
Eagles 4, Giants 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Tohoku Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui, pitching in his fifth straight game, bounced back from a blown save the night before to work a 1-2-3 ninth and earn his 17th save in the Eagles’ win over the Giants.
Marines 5, Tigers 4