Sapporo – Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada held the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters hitless through the sixth inning in an 8-3 Pacific League victory on Saturday.
The 39-year-old's mixed up his low-velocity fastball with his changeup, slider and an occasional curve to keep the Fighters completely off balance, while his teammates fashioned an early five-run lead.
"I felt good from the start and got good results. Last time I got a big lead, too, but I squandered it. I wanted to do better this time, said Wada (1-0), whose last win was in Game 4 of the 2019 Game Series, when SoftBank clinched its fifth Japan championship in six years.
Wada worked seven-plus innings and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out four.
Kenta Imamiya, who on Friday became the seventh player in the history of Japanese pro ball with 300 sacrifice hits, homered to open the scoring in the first off lefty Takayuki Kato (0-1). Yuki Yanagita singled. Wladimir Balentien doubled him in and scored on a Yuya Hasegawa single.
The Hawks took a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, when Wada surrendered three-straight singles. He left with no outs and the bases loaded, but all three scored against the bullpen.
At Sendai's Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Takayuki Kishi (1-0) allowed a run over five innings, and former big leaguers Kazuhisa Makita and JT Chargois each worked a scoreless inning of relief in the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles' 3-1 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines. The game was called on account of rain after seven innings.
At MetLife Dome outside Tokyo, Masataka Yoshida's two-run eighth-inning home run lifted the Orix Buffaloes past the Saitama Seibu Lions in a 4-3 come-from-behind win.
In the Central League, Yoshihiro Maru homered twice, doubled and drove in six runs for the Yomiuri Giants in their 7-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome.
At Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium, Justin Bour had three hits and Jefry Marte hit a two-run, first-inning home run off of Daichi Osera (2-1) in a 9-3 Hanshin Tigers win over the Hiroshima Carp. After back-to-back complete-game victories to open the season, Osera allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings.
At Tokyo's Jingu Stadium, Naomichi Nishiura hit his fourth home run in four games and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows drew seven walks in a 10-8 win over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, who outhit their hosts 15-6. Two-time CL home run champ Neftali Soto had two home runs, two singles and a walk for the BayStars.
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