TOKYO (Kyodo) – Rookie Hiroya Miyagi allowed two runs over eight innings to claim his best ninth win in Japan when Pacific League leaders Orix Buffaloes beat the Seibu Lions 3-2 on Sunday.
Miyagi (9-1) allowed five hits and a step while scoring six hits at the MetLife Dome outside Tokyo to win a duel with Lions right-handed Zach Neal. Two of the hits the 19-year-old left-hander allowed were solo home runs that allowed the Lions to make up for one-run deficits in the second and third innings.
“My last start was really tough from start to finish, so I spent all week training focusing on what I could do to make things easier for myself,” said Miyagi, who played Sunday’s game with three other pitchers started tied with eight wins.
The Buffaloes win put them four games ahead of the runner-up Rakuten Eagles.
Neal (1-3) allowed eight hits, although he prevented the buffalo from making solid contact. He hit a punch without taking a step.
The Buffaloes offense was led by lead-off man Shuhei Fukuda, who scored two goals and was involved in the other run of the Buffaloes. Fukuda opened the game with a bunt single and scored ground ball in the first double play.
In Takeya Nakamura’s seventh home run, the Lions finished at the bottom of the second. Fukuda singled out with two outs in third and scored a run-and-hit double with Yuma Mune from first place.
Shuta Tonosaki scored his first home run of the year in the lower part of the inning, but the Buffaloes managed another run against Neal in the fifth.
A lead-off-infield single, a sacrifice and Fukuda’s second Bunt single got the runners into the turns, and Masataka Yoshida, a member of the Japanese Olympic team, brushed out one of Neal’s few mistakes to put Orix in the lead for good.
Former big league player Yoshihisa Hirano worked his way around a bra in ninth brace to secure victory and his eleventh save.
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte Marines lead-off man Takashi Ogino scored three runs while Shogo Nakamura scored four hits, including a pair of doubles when he scored a run and four in an 8-6 win over the Rakuten Eagles drove.
At Okinawa Cellular Stadium, Colin Rea (2-1) worked five innings to claim victory when the SoftBank Hawks beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-0.
At the Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima, Shogo Sakakura brought the Hiroshima carp back with his two-time double in the fifth inning after one run behind in a 4-3 win against the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers.
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Toshiro Miyazaki brought DeNA BayStars from behind with a double home run as they beat the Yomiuri Giants 3-2 in their first win over their CL rivals this season.
In the Vantelin Dome Nagoya Dayan Viciedo was able to make up the eighth-inning deficit of the Chunichi Dragons from two runs in a 3-3 draw against the Yakult Swallows with his 13th home run.