OSAKA – Taisuke Yamaoka threw eight shutout innings as the Orix Buffaloes outlasted the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1-0 in the Pacific League on Tuesday.
The right-hander struck out 10, while issuing four hits and a walk, as he combined with closer Brandon Dickson to blank the Eagles at Kyocera Dome.
Yamaoka (7-2) outdueled Rakuten starter Takahiro Norimoto, who conceded the go-ahead run in his opening frame before keeping the Buffaloes hitless through the remainder of seven innings.
Shuhei Fukuda inflicted the only hit against Norimoto (1-1), a groundball single, before scoring on a sacrifice from Masataka Yoshida with one out in the bottom of the first.
Yamaoka said the battle with Norimoto — who struck out nine and did not surrender a walk — had been a big motivator.
“(Norimoto) was pitching so well. I just kept going with the feeling that I did not want to lose,” the 23-year-old Yamaoka said.
Dickson struck out a pair as he collected his seventh save. The former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander allowed two runners on with a hit and a walk before getting Ginji Akaminai to ground out to finish the game.
“I just try to go out every inning and go 1-2-3, and hopefully they don’t score. We’re gonna come out fighting again tomorrow,” Dickson said.
The closest Rakuten came to scoring was in the top of the third, after Hiroaki Shimauchi grounded out to advance Eigoro Mogi to third base.
Lions 5, Marines 1
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Seibu starter Ken Togame (4-4) threw seven scoreless innings in a victory over Chiba Lotte.
Fighters 3, Hawks 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Hiroshi Kaino walked in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as Hokkaido Nippon Ham edged Fukuoka SoftBank.
Dragons 3, Tigers 2
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi overcame Hanshin after Taiki Ono (0-1) walked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Dragons starter Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out a pair, while allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, in his comeback from a right shoulder injury.
Toshiya Okada (2-0) got the win.
The 38-year-old Matsuzaka suffered the injury in February after an overzealous fan yanked his arm during a meet-and-greet event at preseason camp.
BayStars 8, Carp 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Neftali Soto blasted a two-run homer to sparking a four-run rally in the sixth as Yokohama came from behind to beat Hiroshima.
Giants 6, Swallows 3
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, veteran right-hander Shun Yamaguchi (10-2) secured the second 10-win season of his career, leading Yomiuri past Tokyo Yakult.