Orix tops Lotte, inches closer to 2nd place
The Orix Buffaloes are running wild in the Pacific League.
Mitsutaka Goto had four hits and an RBI, and Takahiro “T.O.” Okada had an RBI single, a sac fly and an RBI groundout as the Buffaloes inched a little closer to the second-place Climax Series playoff seed with a 6-4 win over the visiting Lotte Marines.
The Buffaloes have won nine of 10, and now the fans are raising expectations -- with the Nippon Ham Fighters, who lost again, floundering -- and the Buffaloes are just 2.5 games out of second.
“We want to play well and not let down the expectations of the fans,” Mamoru Kishida, who notched his 34th save with a perfect ninth.
Sixth-year lefty starter Shinya Nakayama (7-7) continued his strong run, winning his career-best fifth straight decision.
It’s the first time in 14 years that the Buffaloes have posted 16 wins in a month.
LIONS 7, EAGLES 1
Jose Fernandez had three hits, and Hideto Asamura gave Seibu an early lead with a two-run homer as the Lions extended their longest winning streak since 2002 to 10 games by downing Rakuten at The Kleenex Box.
Ace Hideaki Wakui (8-11) rebounded from a poor outing to fire seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits and two walks and fanning three for the win.
It’s first time the Lions have come from 15 games under .500 to break even in a season. They are 60-60, three games back of the Buffaloes.
HAWKS 10, FIGHTERS 1
D.J. Houlton (16-6) fired his third complete game of the season to become the first foreign Hawks pitcher since 1964, and the first import since 2003, to notch 16 wins as SoftBank reduced its magic number to five by sending Nippon Ham to its eighth straight loss.
Seiichi Uchikawa had three hits and two RBIs, and Nobuhiro Matsuda added two hits, including his team-high 24th homer, to back Houlton and move the team a season-best 34 games over .500.
Uchikawa tied his career high with 68 RBIs.
SWALLOWS 8, TIGERS 4
Keizo Kawashima got Yakult even in the eighth with an RBI infield hit, and Shingo Kawabata busted the game open with his first career grand slam as the Swallows came from behind to top Hanshin at Jingu Stadium.
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama also went deep for his CL-best 81st and 82nd RBIs and moved closer to league leader and teammate Wladimir Balentien with 22 longballs.
DRAGONS 5, CARP 4
Tony Blanco had his first four-hit game of the season [his third in Japan] as Chunichi rallied from two runs down late to top Hiroshima at The Zoom.
Motonobu Tanishige drove in a run for the eighth consecutive game and Blanco’s broken-bat single to center in the ninth pushed across the winning run in the top of the ninth after the time limit had passed.
GIANTS 4, BAYSTARS 1
Hayato Sakamoto’s sac fly broke a 1-1 tie, and Daisuke Fujimura followed with another scoring flyball as Yomiuri downed host Yokohama.
[Edited by: jgibson on Oct 13, 2011 10:18 PM]