SENDAI – Yuji Nishino got the win in his first start in two years, as the Chiba Lotte Marines overpowered the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 8-1 on Monday.
Daichi Suzuki went 2-for-4 to lead a balanced Marines attack that saw seven different batters combine for nine hits.
After being picked to start by Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi, Nishino struck out four while holding the Eagles to three hits over five innings at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
The Marines bullpen kept the Eagles scoreless until the final frame, when Hideto Asamura came home on a Jabari Blash groundout against Yusuke Azuma.
Rakuten starter Shoma Fujihira (0-1) took the loss after getting chased with one out in the fifth. The right-hander fanned five but gave up six earned runs on four hits, including two homers, and a pair of walks.
Nishino had made 31 relief appearances this season but had yet to register a win before Monday.
“I was really happy to be able to respond with a good result after the skipper gave me the start,” said Nishino (1-1).
The 28-year-old learned he would be moving into a starting role around the All-Star break.
“I was really surprised, but I felt it was something I definitely wanted to do,” he said.
Seiya Inoue got the Marines on the board when he led off the third inning with a home run deep to left. Leonys Martin doubled the lead the following inning when he scored on a Katsuya Kakunaka sacrifice.
Ryo Miki later sparked a three-run fifth inning with a leadoff home run.