KOBE (Kyodo) – 911 Seiichiro Oshita came to the rescue as the Orix Buffaloes rallied from a late deficit to beat the Lotte Marines 4-3 on Tuesday, ousting them as leaders of the Pacific League.
Two days after handing over first place to the Marines, Orix was without Adam Jones, who was disabled due to vaccination side effects. The buffalo replaced him in the active line-up with Oshita, who had spent most of that season on the farm.
After a 3-1 deficit at the Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Oshita led the eighth place with a pinch-hit home run. A Torai Fushimi double from Lotte replacement Chihaya Sasaki and a two-out error on shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria enabled the equalizer to score a goal.
Former big league player Yoshihisa Hirano (1-3) pulled the heart of Lotte’s line-up back to ninth place. In the half of the home, the Marines did not turn to Japan’s parade leader Naoya Masuda, but to journeyman Yasuhiro Tanaka (1-1), who suffered the defeat.
Orix invited the bases with a walk and two hits and brought Oshita to the plate with an out and a chance to win. Using Lotte’s flat outfield to prevent a victim fly from ending it, Oshita drove a pitch out of reach of the midfielder for an RBI single.
“I’m as happy as possible,” said Oshita. “I went on the plate and thought I had to make the big shot so I could swing the ball as best I could.”
“I spent the whole year (in the minors) thinking about how I could make a difference. That was the greatest. I thought I could get a chance in a big situation and I was prepared for it.”
The rally took rookie starter Hiroya Miyagi off the hook after giving up three runs over five innings. Leonys Martin did the most damage to the Marines with a double run in the first inning.
The Buffaloes took threats in fifth and seventh places but did not score a goal. For time constraints, manager Satoshi Nakajima reached out to Oshita, who had done similar heroics when he was promoted from the farm team in 2020.
“Just unbelievable. When we needed a spark, he delivered it,” said Nakajima of Oshita.
The win pushed Orix a full game ahead of Lotte with the third-placed Rakuten Eagles by another 2 1/2 games and the fourth-placed SoftBank Hawks, the defending champion, 1-1 / 2 games behind Rakuten.
In the Sapporo Dome, Japanese Olympian Hiromi Ito (9-5) worked seven innings to win a duel between the rookies and Rakuten’s Takahisa Hayakawa (7-5) in the 4-2 victory of the Nippon Ham Fighters.
At the MetLife Dome, Sosuke Genda’s two-time eight-inning single brought the Seibu Lions from behind in a 6-5 win over SoftBank.
At the Koshien Stadium, Yakult Swallows rookie Yasunobu Okugawa (6-3) beat eight, while allowing two hits over seven innings in a 12-0 win over the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers.
At Yokohama Stadium, the DeNA BayStars came back against the Yomiuri Giants and beat their ace, Tomoyuki Sugano (3-6), for seven runs in an 8-2 win. The defeat left Yomiuri 1-1 / 2 games behind Hanshin and one ahead of Yakult.
At Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki went deep for the fourth game in a row, getting his 23rd and 24th home runs in the Hiroshima Carp’s 8-7 win over the Chunichi Dragons.