FUKUOKA – Ariel Miranda pitched out of a pair of bases-loaded jams and Kenji Akashi delivered a tie-breaking, two-run single as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0 in the Pacific League on Sunday.
Miranda (6-3) survived five walks and an error, allowing just two hits over five innings to earn the win. The lefty loaded the bases with walks in the top of the third but got cleanup hitter Sho Nakata to fly out and end the inning.
Things looked bad for the league-leading Hawks in the fourth, when Miranda walked the leadoff hitter and then stumbled on the ensuing sacrifice. His error put two on with no outs.
Miranda left the field for a few minutes for treatment and then loaded the bases with a one-out walk. But two straight flies kept the game scoreless as Nippon Ham wasted its best scoring chance of the game.
The Fighters used Mizuki Hori as an opener, and he pitched a 1-2-3 first inning before turning the game over to Bryan Rodriguez from the second. The right-hander had no trouble with the Hawks until Shuhei Fukuda beat out a one-out bunt in the fifth.
Takuya Kai’s run-and-hit single put runners on the corners, and Kai stole second without a throw on the first pitch to Akashi. On a 2-2 pitch from Rodriguez, Akashi bounced a ball back up the middle that scored both runners easily.
“I’m grateful to Shuhei and Takuya for setting the table so well,” Akashi said. “I struck out the previous time with a runner in scoring position, so I went to the plate even more motivated to do something.”
A quartet of relievers kept the Fighters from scoring over the final four innings, with Livan Moinelo striking out the side in the eighth. Yuito Mori put the tying runs on base with two outs in the ninth but recorded his 23rd save.
Lions 4, Marines 2
At Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, the Saitama Seibu Lions moved past the Fighers and into second place with a win over the Chiba Lotte Marines. Takumi Kuriyama broke a 2-2, eighth-inning tie with his 100th career home run.
Eagles 8, Buffaloes 2
At Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi in Sendai, Eigoro Mogi’s grand slam highlighted a five-run sixth inning, leading the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to victory over the Orix Buffaloes.
Giants 7, Swallows 1
At Tokyo Dome, Alex Guerrero homered twice and drove in four runs, and Yuki Takahashi (4-4) struck out nine over six innings as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Dragons 10, BayStars 8
At Yokohama Stadium, Nobumasa Fukuda broke a 5-5 tie with a sixth-inning grand slam, and the Chunichi Dragons held on to a 10-8 victory after current closer Toshiya Okada surrendered three runs on two homers in the ninth against Yokohama. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo homered twice with five RBIs for the BayStars.
Tigers 6, Carp 5
At Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Kentaro Itohara doubled in the tying run in a four-run eighth-inning as the Hanshin Tigers overcame a late three-run deficit in a win over the Hiroshima Carp.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5