Ayumu Ishikawa pitched out of a second-inning jam before the Chiba Lotte Marines broke the game open in an 8-2 win over the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday.

The win at Kyocera Dome Osaka lifted the second-place Marines to within 1½-games of first place. The teams complete their three-game set on Friday with a pair of marquee rookies set to take the mound — Orix lefty Hiroya Miyagi and Lotte right-hander Roki Sasaki.

A Brandon Laird single plated a run in the first for the visitors, but Ishikawa faced trouble in the second, when a pair of one-out singles brought veteran left-handed slugger Takahiro Okada to the plate.

The last time Okada faced Ishikawa, on Sept. 28, he hit a decisive three-run home run in the Buffaloes’ 5-2 win in Chiba.

Ishikawa (5-3) struck him out this time en route to a scoreless inning and his teammates knocked Buffaloes starter Sachiya Yamasaki (8-10) out in a four-run third.

“T-san (Okada) hit me well last time, so I’m glad I did a good job against him this time,” Ishikawa said.

Ishikawa’s bid for a shutout ended with two outs in the ninth, with Yutaro Sugimoto’s PL-leading 31st home run, with a man on.

Eagles 2, Hawks 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Takero Okajima’s RBI single off SoftBank closer Yuito Mori (1-2) kept third-place Tohoku Rakuten two games back of Lotte and moved them six games clear of the fourth-place Hawks.

Fighters 10, Lions 3

At Sapporo Dome, Robbie Erlin (2-2) allowed an unearned run over five innings as last-place Nippon Ham routed Seibu.


Swallows 3, Dragons 1

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Munetaka Murakami snapped a tie game with his Central League-leading 39th home run as league-leading Yakult beat Chunichi to move 2½ games ahead of the second-place Hanshin Tigers.

Tigers 2, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, reserve Tigers catcher Seishiro Sakamoto tied the game twice, with an RBI single and a solo home run, in Hanshin’s tie with rival Yomiuri.

BayStars 9, Carp 3

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroki Tokoda (5-4) allowed seven runs over 4⅔ innings, blowing an early lead in a loss to DeNA. The loss snapped the fourth-place Carp’s six-game win streak and dropped them 5½ games behind Yomiuri in the fight for the CL’s final playoff spot.

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