SENDAI – Takahiro Norimoto pitched six scoreless innings to lead the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to a 6-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Tuesday, winning his first start of the season.
Norimoto (1-0), who returned to the top-team mound for the first time in nearly nine months, struck out six of the 23 batters he faced at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi. He gave up three hits, walked one and hit a batter, as the Eagles claimed their first win in more than two weeks.
The right-hander underwent a cleanup procedure on his pitching elbow in March.
“I took the mound determined to snap our losing streak,” he said. “I was able to pitch at ease since I had a lot of support from the offense. I underwent surgery to be able to throw at full force again, I want to help the team earn more wins now that I’m back.”
Norimoto put runners in scoring position in three of the six innings but managed to leave them all stranded.
In the bottom of the second, Motohiro Shima drove in the opening run off Buffaloes starter Sachiya Yamasaki (2-2). Hideto Asamura led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a walk and scored on Shima’s RBI single.
The Eagles extended their lead on Jabari Blash’s three-run home run in the third inning. Blash, who’s in his first season with the Pacific League team, connected on the second pitch from Yamasaki and hit it into the left-field stands.
Rakuten’s Eigoro Mogi added another run in the fourth against right-hander Daiki Tomei, while Hiroaki Shimauchi’s eighth-inning solo shot extended the lead to 6-0.
Eagles relievers Alan Busenitz and Kohei Morihara retired the batters in order in the seventh and eighth, respectively. Koji Aoyama surrendered a solo homer in the ninth but fanned the next three batters to close the game.
Hawks 3, Lions 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Shuhei Fukuda blasted a first-inning, two-run homer, and Seiji Uebayashi capped the three-run inning in Fukuoka SoftBank’s victory over Seibu.
Marines 6, Fighters 1
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Chiba Lotte starter Chihaya Sasaki (1-0) pitched seven innings against Hokkaido Nippon Ham and claimed his first win since 2017.
Ikuhiro Kiyota slugged a grand slam in the third to help the Marines hammered the Fighters.
Giants 1, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, Toshiki Sakurai (4-1) allowed five hits and a walk, while striking out six over seven innings as Yomiuri edged Hanshin.
Dragons 6, Carp 3
At Nagoya Dome, Kota Ishibashi and Yohei Oshima each drove in two runs in Chunichi’s victory over Hiroshima.
BayStars 9, Swallows 4
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Kazuki Kamizato hit a tiebreaking RBI double and Jose Lopez put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the sixth as Yokohama rallied to beat Tokyo Yakult.