OSAKA (Kyodo) – Unannounced journeyman Daichi Takeyasu defeated SoftBank ace Kodai Senga over six innings, leading the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes to a 3-0 win over fourth-placed Hawks on Sunday to a three-game Complete series win.
The Buffaloes’ seventh winning decision kept them 1-1 / 2 wins ahead of runner-up Lotte Marines as they track their franchise’s first pennant since 1996.
Takeyasu (3-0) allowed one hit and a step while scoring four, although he needed a special game of defense to keep the Hawks from scoring 1-1 in the fourth inning at the Kyocera Dome.
Orix opened the goal in the second inning after a home run by Yutaro Sugimoto, his 29th place in the league, ahead of Senga (7-3).
The Hawks threatened to pair it up with a runner on the third but were turned down by Yuma Mune, the third baseman. Slugger Alfredo Despaigne smoked a two-out liner towards the left corner of the field, but a Mune dive robbed him of an RBI double.
“I could only close it because Mune played such a great game with a runner in the scorer position and because Torai (catcher Torai Fushimi) called such a great game,” said Takeyasu.
Mune opened the fourth run of the Buffaloes in the single, while Ryo Adachi was in the second run of Orix with two outs in the single. Two no-out singles at the start of the fifth inning formed Orix’s third run.
After two perfect innings from Orix’s bullpen, Yoshihisa Hirano dodged a two-hit, one-walk ball in the ninth shot and recorded his 25th save.
Despite the victory, the news wasn’t all good for the buffalo. Her top running producer, Tokyo Olympic team member Masataka Yoshida, was disabled on Sunday after breaking his right arm near his wrist from a ball thrown on Saturday.
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Kazuya Ojima (10-3) allowed three hits without a walk in his second shutout of the season when Lotte beat third-placed Rakuten Eagles 2-0 to keep up with Orix.
At the Sapporo Dome, regular left fielder Haruki Nishikawa came off the bench to deliver a game-winning pinch hit single from RBI in game nine to bring the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 3-2 win over the Seibu Lions.
At Mazda Stadium, Domingo Santana’s two-man single cracked the eighth inning and brought the Yakult Swallows, who lead the Central League, to a 4-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp.
Homered at Koshien Stadium, Jefry Marte and Joe Gunkel (9-3) worked 6-1 / 3 innings to claim victory as the runner-up Hanshin Tigers defeated the Chunichi Dragons 1-0 in order not to lose to Yakult.
In the Tokyo Dome, the third-placed Yomiuri Giants came from behind in the ninth inning, but left the bases loaded when their game against the DeNA BayStars ended in a 3-3 draw.