Yudai Ono threw eight innings of two-hit, one-run ball and earned his first win of the season Tuesday as the Chunichi Dragons came back to beat the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers 2-1.
Takuya Kinoshita broke the tie with one out in the bottom of the seventh at Vantelin Dome Nagoya, scoring Shuhei Takahashi from second with a single to left field off Tigers starter Yuki Nishi (3-2).
Veteran left-hander Ono (1-2) threw 115 pitches in the series opener, striking out six while surrendering a pair of walks.
He allowed Hanshin to take the lead with two out in the top of the second when exciting rookie Teruaki Sato got hold of his 1-1 cutter and launched it several rows behind the right field fence.
The 22-year-old Sato took his home run tally to seven by going long in back-to-back games.
Chunichi tied it in the sixth when Yota Kyoda flew out, allowing Akira Neo to score from third.
Ono’s breakthrough win, in his fifth start of the season, followed a succession of strong performances that were not rewarded with a decision.
“I felt the wins would come if I kept pitching my own way. It’s important to keep that mentality,” Ono said.
At Mazda Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp hammered the Yokohama DeNA BayStars 10-1, chasing starter Shinichi Onuki with seven runs in the third inning.
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami took the outright lead in the CL home run race with his ninth and 10th long bombs of the season, but the Yomiuri Giants were more than a match, winning 14-11 behind closed doors.
The contest was one of two Nippon Professional Baseball games played without fans Tuesday as part of emergency measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
In the other fixture behind closed doors, the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles played out a 5-5 tie at Kyocera Dome Osaka.
Fans will also be locked out of games at Tokyo Dome and Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture during the coronavirus state of emergency through May 11.
At MetLife Dome, the Saitama Seibu Lions beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 3-1, with rookie Towa Uema (1-1) earning his first win as a pro.
The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ran away with a 7-2 road win against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, who relinquished their half-game lead over Rakuten at the top of the PL.
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