TOKYO (Kyodo) – Rookie Yutaro Watanabe threw six goalless innings, and Takeya Nakamura started a two-run home run on Sunday for the Seibu Lions who survived a late rally to beat Pacific League rivals the Rakuten Eagles 6-5 to beat.
Watanabe (4-4) was eliminated with the fifth placed Lions in command 6-0 at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi when he defeated opposing starter Masahiro Tanaka (4-8) before a three-run shot from Tsuyoshi Yamasaki returned the Eagles in the competition in the seventh.
A two-run rally in the final frame threatened to ruin Watanabe’s work before Ryosuke Moriwaki replaced Reed Garret with two outs and the bases were loaded. The righty coaxed a flyout from Eigoro Mogi to end the game and prevent the third-placed Eagles from extending their lead over fourth-placed SoftBank Hawks.
Watanabe, 21, fanned out five, allowing for four hits and four walks.
Nakamura chased former Major League All-Star Tanaka with his two-run big fly, which crowned a four-run rally in run five. In 4-2 / 3 innings, Tanaka gave up five well-deserved runs on eight hits and two walks while dropping five.
Seiji Kawagoe put the Lions on the board with an RBI single in fourth place, while an RBI double from Sosuke Genda and a Takumi Kuriyama victim fly made it 3-0 before Nakamura stepped onto the plate in fifth.
The right-handed bat got a 1-2 fastball over the center of the plate and shot it high over the center left for his 18th homer. He went 2-for-4 to speed up the Lions offensive along with Genda, who finished 3-for-4 with one run and two RBIs.
At the Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (12-6) allowed three runs over six innings as the Nippon Ham Fighters defeated PL-leading Orix Buffaloes 4-3.
At Yokohama Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada drove five runs, including a three-run homer in the ninth, when the Central League-top Yakult Swallows defeated DeNA BayStars 7-3.
At Koshien Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp scored all of their runs by solo homers, including two from Seiya Suzuki when they beat the runner-up Hanshin Tigers 4-2.