Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Lions finish strong in win over Buffaloes

Kyodo

Takeya Nakamura blew open the game with a three-run double in the bottom of the seventh as the Saitama Seibu Lions overpowered the Orix Buffaloes 11-3 in the Pacific League on Sunday.

Sosuke Genda drove in the go-ahead run in the fourth, while Shuta Tonosaki and Tomoya Mori each blasted two-run homers in the eighth to cement the victory at MetLife Dome.

A day after getting blanked 7-0, the Buffaloes led the hit count 16-10 but repeatedly left runners stranded.

Orix starter Kohei Suzuki (1-5) lasted just 3⅓ innings, making way for Sachiya Yamasaki after allowing four runs on five hits and five walks.

Wataru Matsumoto (4-1) got the win despite giving up 10 hits in his five-inning start. He allowed three earned runs, striking out three while walking one.

With the Lions leading 4-3 in the seventh, Nakamura came to the plate to face Hirotoshi Masui with the bases loaded and no outs.

The 35-year-old infielder, who needs two more home runs to reach 400 for his career, sent Masui’s 1-1 fastball deep to center to score Tonosaki, Hotoka Yamakawa and Mori.

Tonosaki and Mori continued the run fest the following inning, each going long against 22-year-old right-hander Ryo Yoshida, making just his third professional appearance.

The Buffaloes had rallied to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, with Shuhei Kojima singling to score Shunta Goto before Masataka Yoshida brought home Shuhei Fukuda on a groundout.

The Lions hit back in the bottom of the inning after Tonosaki singled to score Shogo Akiyama and advance Genda to third. Genda snuck home to level the scores as the Buffaloes tried to stop Tonosaki stealing second.

The home team took the lead the following inning when Aito Takeda scored from second on a Genda double. They added another run when Akiyama came home on a sacrifice fly.

Genda, who went 4-for-5 on Saturday, finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, while also reaching twice on walks.

“Maybe it’s just by chance, (but) I feel like I’m hitting well at the moment,” Genda said, adding that it was important for the Lions to clinch the series at home.

“From next week, we have a long stretch on the road, so it was big to end our home stand with this win.”

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