At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Orix’s Stefen Romero, who was released by Rakuten over the winter before re-signing with Oris, homered, Steven Moya and Shuhei Fukuda each drove in a run, and Ryoichi Adachi scored twice as the Buffaloes swept their series in Sendai to take over sole possession of first place in the Pacific League.
The Buffaloes have won nine straight decisions for the first time since 2011 as both teams went to a short starter-bullpen game. Yoshihisa Hirano, the Buffaloes’ seventh pitcher, struck out Rusney Castillo to begin a 1-2-3 ninth and record his eighth save.
Castillo had two hits in his second game with the Eagles. He was hurt in his April 23 season debut.
Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes and Central League’s Yakult Swallows came out of interleague on a roll and both won Friday, leaving two teams who finished last in each of the last two seasons in sole possession of second place.
Friday’s games had an old-school look with all 12 starting pitchers getting a decision. I’ll bet that doesn’t happen too often anymore.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yutaro Sugimoto hit his 14th home run and doubled in a run, while Steven Moya drove in two with his seventh and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-5) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings. Three relievers each worked a scoreless inning for the Buffaloes, with Tyler Higgins doing the job in the eighth and Yoshihisa Hirano earning his sixth save.
Hideaki Wakui (6-5) allowed five runs over four innings to take the loss as the Eagles’ PL lead shrank to a run over the Buffaloes, who jumped from third to second by winning their seventh straight decision.
Fighters 2, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-2) allowed three hits and four walks over the distance, while Daiki Asama and Kazunari Ishii homered for last-place Nippon Ham.
At MetLife Dome, Daiki Iwashita (5-4) struck out seven over six innings, while Katsuya Kakunaka and Yudai Fujioka each scored two runs for Lotte. Hisanori Yasuda had a pair of RBI singles, while Shogo Nakamura hit his fourth homer.
Kona Takahashi (5-3) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.
Swallows 5, Dragons 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s 41-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (3-1) delivered his third straight solid start, allowing two runs over six innings, while allowing five hits and no walks. Munetaka Murakami hit a two-run homer in the first, his Japan-leading 21st, and Jose Osuna hit a three-run homer in the sixth, his fourth. Three Swallows relievers worked 1-2-3 innings with Scott McGough striking out two in the ninth as he earned his 12th save.
Yuya Yanagi (5-3) after a nearly flawless start to the season, allowed five runs in back-to-back starts. Naomichi Donoue hit his second homer and Shohei Kato hit his first in the CL after the Dragons acquired him in a mid-week trade from Lotte.
Tigers 7, Giants 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Jerry Sands cracked open the scoring in a three-run second inning with the second of four Tigers doubles off Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (2-1). Sands also hit his 13th home run, a grand slam, to ice it in the third inning, as Yuki Nishi (4-3) scattered four walks, a hit batsman and five hits to allow just one run over seven innings.
Carp 7, BayStars 4
At Tokyo Dome, 20-year-old rookie Hiroshima lefty Shogo Tamamura (1-3) allowed two runs over seven while striking out 10 and singled in a run in the second to tie it 1-1 as he earned his first pro win in a game hosted by DeNA at Tokyo Dome as their home park is being prepared to host the Olympic baseball and softball tournament.
Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT