Baseball: PL leading Hawks beat Marines 4-3, win 5th straight


Akira Nakamura of the SoftBank Hawks makes his way to first base during a Pacific League game against the Lotte Marines at Zozo Marine Stadium on March 30, 2022 in Chiba, Japan. (kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Akira Nakamura won with a 3-4 RBI on Wednesday as the SoftBank Hawks came back to beat the Lotte Marines 4-3 and record their fifth straight win to open the season.

The Pacific League leaders went 2-0 after Lotte outfielder Hiromi Oka failed to get his gauntlet on Nakamura’s grounder through the middle with an out and two runners onboard in the second at Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines got on the board in the third when Yudai Fujioka hit Akito Takabe’s sacrificial fly.

They equalized in the fourth with another sacrifice fly, this time from Taiga Hirasawa, and then went 3-2 when SoftBank catcher Takuya Kai rushed the second try to throw out a runner, allowing Toshiya Sato to score.

The Hawks regained the lead in the seventh after Yurisbel Gracial and Ryoya Kurihara pulled consecutive, base-loaded walks from left-handed reliever Shota Suzuki (0-2), who was credited with the Marines’ third straight loss.

Right-hander Koya Fujii (2-0) clinched the win by throwing a sixth 1-2-3 after replacing starter Tsuyoshi Wada.

Some of the shine was taken away from the win when Kurihara was taken off the stretcher after colliding with teammate Seiji Uebayashi in the outfield at the bottom of ninth place.

Elsewhere in the PL, the Seibu Lions defeated the winless Nippon Ham Fighters 5-3, while the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Orix Buffaloes 6-1.

In the Central League too, Hiroshima Carp improved to a perfect 5-0 since the start of the season after beating the Hanshin Tigers 8-3.

The DeNA BayStars beat the late starting Chunichi Dragons 7-6 and the Yomiuri Giants defeated city-wide rivals the Yakult Swallows 3-1 at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo.


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