Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Lions starter Keisuke Honda silences Marines

Kyodo

Right-hander Keisuke Honda threw 7-1/3 solid innings Saturday as the Seibu Lions hammered the Chiba Lotte Marines 5-0 in the Pacific League.

Honda (4-3) gave up seven hits and hit a batter, while striking out one at Zozo Marine Stadium. The fourth-year hurler did not issue a walk.

“I’m relieved we were able to win,” said the 26-year-old Honda, who earned his first professional win in April.

“I controlled all of my pitches well. I was able to throw at ease because my teammates scored many runs.”

Shogo Akiyama drove in two runs to lead the visitors. He led off the game with his 13th home run against veteran right-hander Hideaki Wakui (3-5) and capped the Lions’ three-run fourth with an RBI double.

Tomoya Mori doubled and scored on an error by third baseman Brandon Laird in the second.

Honda came five outs short of throwing his first pro shutout. However, he was pulled after giving up back-to-back, one-out singles in the eighth.

Righty Katsunori Hirai struck out the next batter, and left fielder Shohei Suzuki made a good catch at the warning track in his third pro game to end the inning and strand both runners.

“I tried not to think about pitching (a shutout),” Honda said. “I was focused on retiring one batter at a time.

“I knew the relievers would be able to keep it scoreless.”

Wakui was unable to pick up his first win in nearly two months. He allowed five runs — three earned — on six hits and a walk, while fanning four over seven innings.

Fighters 1, Eagles 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Yushi Shimizu drove in the winning run in the ninth off closer Tohoku Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui (1-4).

Hawks 6, Buffaloes 5

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Fukuoka SoftBank won its ninth straight game thanks to a costly error that allowed Nobuhiro Matsuda to bat with two outs and a man on in the eighth against Orix.

Matsuda’s two-run home run overturned a one-run deficit.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 4, BayStars 3

At Tokyo Dome, Cristopher Mercedes (6-4) threw seven shutout innings to pitch Yomiuri to its seventh straight win, a triumph over Yokohama.

Tigers 8, Carp 5

At Koshien Stadium, Kento Itohara broke a fourth-inning tie with a three-run home run as Hanshin downed Hiroshima.

The Carp dropped their seventh straight game.

Swallows 3, Dragons 1

At Nagoya Dome, 39-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (3-5) allowed a run over seven innings and squeezed home the go-ahead run as Tokyo Yakult topped Chunichi to pick up its fourth straight win for the first time this season.

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