CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) –
Nick Martinez threw seven goalless innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 5-0 win over the Lotte Marines on Thursday afternoon for a second straight win against the Pacific League leaders.
The Hawks, who have won the last four Japan Series, are fourth, seven games behind the first-placed Marines and two games behind the third-placed Rakuten Eagles, occupying the final PL playoff spot.
“It is the point of the season when you have to win big games against good teams to make it to the playoffs,” said Martinez.
Martinez, who won a silver medal for the United States in the Tokyo Olympics, improved to 8-3. He hit three while scattering five hits and three walks, and finished three innings with two runners on base.
“It was a great job for our team all round,” said Martinez. “I attacked the zone. Es (Lotte) are a really good team, so you can’t get away with mistakes in the zone.”
The Hawks opened scoring against Seiya Dohi in the second inning. The left-hander was called to the start at the last minute after hard-throwing teen Roki Sasaki was unable to line up.
Yuki Yanagita led the second place with his 27th home run. The Hawks had five hits in the inning, with one run on a Nobuhiro Matsuda victim fly and another on a Masaki Mimori double with two outs.
Ryoya Kurihara’s 16th home run in the fifth game against rookie Shota Suzuki made it 4-0. Alfredo Despaigne sporadically in an insurance run in the seventh inning to complete the scoring.
SoftBank rescuer Yugo Bando dropped the Marines in the eighth and ninth order to complete the shutout.
At the Kyocera Dome Osaka, Nippon Ham Fighters closer, Toshihiro Sugiura jam out a ninth inning to help the team score a 4-2 win over runner-up Orix Buffaloes, who continues to be 2 1/2 games behind the pace.
At the MetLife Dome, Tomoya Mori homered and reached the base five times, including a double in the ninth inning with two outs that started the Seibu Lions’ winning run in their 4-3 walk-off victory over the Rakuten Eagles.
At Yokohama Stadium, Cy Sneed (4-2) allowed a seven innings run, and Naomichi Nishiura scored a triple home run for the Central League-top Yakult Swallows in a 4-2 win over DeNA BayStars.
In the Vantelin Dome Nagoya Kosuke Fukudome’s RBI double was able to equalize the game in the ninth inning when the Chunichi Dragons came down after two runs in the last frame to tie the second-placed Hanshin Tigers 3-3.
At Mazda Stadium, Sho Nakata, Hayato Sakamoto and Zelous Wheeler each played for the Yomiuri Giants, who beat the Hiroshima Carp 5-0 to get close to the Tigers in two games.