Fukuoka – Eight big innings from ace pitcher Kodai Senga and home runs from Alfredo Despaigne and Richard Sunagawa, saw the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks snap their eight-game losing streak with a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes on Sunday.
On the same day reports surfaced that Hawks skipper Kimiyasu Kudo intends to resign at season’s end to take responsibility for the club’s poor performance, the fourth-place Hawks came from a run down in the first at PayPay Dome. The win moved them to within 5½ games of third place and the PL’s final playoff spot.
The Hawks have won five of the last six Japan Series under Kudo and have not finished worse than second since 2013, the last year they failed to make the postseason.
Senga (8-3) allowed two walks, five hits and hit a batter while striking out 11. Yuito Mori worked the ninth to record his 14th save.
“I’m relieved we could stop that (losing streak),” said Senga.
Senga escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam against the heart of the Buffaloes order in the eighth inning, striking out slugger Takahiro Okada with his fastest pitch of the day and then let out a roar.
“I felt like I had something extra in reserve,” he said. “So I thought I’d just give it all I had.”
Yutaro Sugimoto put the league leaders ahead with an RBI single in the first before Despaigne put SoftBank in front in the bottom of the inning and Senga took control of the game.
Despaigne, who along with Mori, has missed much of the season due to injury, hit his seventh homer with a man on off right-hander Daichi Takeyasu (3-1), who pitched four innings and surrendered Sunagawa’s seventh homer in the fourth inning.
The Buffaloes’ loss trimmed their lead over the second-place Chiba Lotte Marines to 2½ games.
Fighters 4, Marines 4
At Sapporo Dome, Lotte’s Hiromi Oka’s two-run ninth-inning home run secured a 4-4 tie against his former team.
Lions 3, Eagles 2
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Junichiro Kishi singled in the winning run in the ninth inning as Seibu came from behind to beat third-place Tohoku Rakuten. Masahiro Tanaka worked seven innings for the Eagles but surrendered the tying run in the seventh.
Carp 3, Giants 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Masato Morishita (7-7) pitched seven shutout innings for the fourth-place Carp in a win over third-place Yomiuri, whose sixth straight loss saw its lead over Hiroshima shrink to six games.
Swallows 6, Tigers 4
At Jingu Stadium, Yasutaka Shiomi homered and snapped a sixth-inning tie with an RBI double as first-place Tokyo Yakult beat second-place Hanshin.
BayStars 2, Dragons 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Tatsuhiro Shibata’s sacrifice fly off Chunichi closer Raidel Martinez (1-4) lifted last-place DeNA to a walk-off win.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.