Chiba – Brandon Laird's eighth-inning home run unlocked a tied game Sunday as the Chiba Lotte Marines edged the Orix Buffaloes 6-5 in the Pacific League for their eighth straight win.
Leading off the bottom of the eighth after the Buffaloes tied the game 5-5 in the top of the inning, Laird took a fat pitch and just got it over the wall in center for his fifth home run of the year. The blast came off Hirotoshi Masui, who had been Laird's teammate in their days with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
Because the PL's six teams are spread across Japan, the league has scheduled six-game series to reduce travel during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Lotte's win completed a six-game sweep.
Marines starter Manabu Mima allowed three runs, all in the first, over seven innings. The right-hander scattered seven hits and a walk, while striking out two.
The Buffaloes' best starter, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, struggled to throw strikes, and it cost him. He surrendered five runs, four earned, over 5⅔ innings. Yamamoto walked four and struck out three.
Marines catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI singles and a pair of walks. He drove in three runs, while Laird and Leonys Martin each scored twice for Lotte.
Jay Jackson, who joined the Marines this season after spending last year with the Milwaukee Brewers, struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first save.
At MetLife Dome, Tomoya Mori singled in the winning run in the ninth as the Saitama Seibu Lions walked off 4-3 winners against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Sho Nakata hit a two-run, first-inning homer and Toshihiro Sugiura (1-0) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win as the Fighters beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 6-4.
In the Central League, Angel Sanchez (2-0) scattered four walks and three hits over six innings for the Yomiuri Giants in a 12-0 win over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium.
At Nagoya Dome, Hiroshima Carp rookie Masato Morishita (1-0) struck out seven as he allowed three runs over 8⅔ innings in a 10-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons.