Chiba – Leonys Martin attended the introductory news conference for new Chiba Lotte Marines infielder Adeiny Hechavarria on Saturday morning and said he was happy his friend and fellow Cuban was joining the team.
Then he went out and celebrated against the Seibu Lions.
Martin homered in his first two at-bats and the Marines avoided a three-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over the Seibu Lions on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Zozo Marine Stadium.
Marines starter Manabu Mima did the heavy lifting on the mound, holding the Lions to two runs over seven innings.
“Mima pitched a solid game,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “He really pitched well throughout. He was trying to do whatever he could to get a win.”
Mima (1-0) didn’t factor into the decision in his first two starts of the season.
“I just thought I was finally able to get a win this year,” Mima said afterward. “I had some bad walks, but it was good I was able to stick it out until the end.”
Martin didn’t waste any time giving Mima a lead, connecting on a solo homer to right in the bottom of the first.
He was up again with two outs in the second, but had his at-bat interrupted when Kyota Fujiwara was caught trying to steal second. Martin went back to the plate to begin the third and promptly put another ball in the seats in right.
Before the game, Martin posed for pictures with Hechavarria at the latter’s news conference.
Martin and Hechavarria are both former MLB players who are close and trained together in the past. The Marines signed Hechavarria over the offseason, but travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19 had kept him out of Japan, which was the case for most of NPB’s first-year foreign players.
“I think the level of baseball in Japan is extremely high,” Hechavarria said during his news conference. “I think it’s around the same as the majors.”
The Marines provided their new teammate with a good first impression.
Shortly after Martin’s second home run, Koki Yamaguchi tacked on two more for Lotte with a two-run single. Takashi Ogino drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and Tatsuhiro Tamura brought in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The Marines finished with 11 hits.
It’s been a tough week for the Lions, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
Shota Hamaya (1-2) gave up both of Martin’s homers and was charged with four runs over three innings in the loss.
“The ball hit for a home run was a bad pitch,” Hamaya said. “My condition really wasn’t good.”
Seibu outfielder Aito Takeda hit the first two home runs of his career in Friday’s win over Lotte. He added a third on Saturday, leading off the fifth with a shot to left to get the Lions on the board.
“I went into that at bat thinking about getting on base any way I could,” Takeda said. “I thought it was gone the moment I hit it.”
Sosuke Genda connected on an RBI double later in the frame, but that’s as close as the Lions would get.
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