Baseball: The Buffaloes end the Hawks’ undefeated start to the season


Shunta Goto of the Orix Buffaloes scores a run scoring triple in the top of the 10th inning during a Pacific League Baseball game at the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka against the SoftBank Hawks on April 6, 2022 at the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka. (kyodo)

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Shunta Goto’s two-out pinch-hit triple broke a tie in the 10th inning as defending Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes backed off SoftBank’s winning streak with a 3-1 win at eight o’clock Wednesday Hawks consolidated for the season opener.

The Buffaloes took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning in a duel of southpaw pitchers between SoftBank’s Tsuyoshi Wada and Orix’s Daiki Tajima. New Buffaloes import Breyvic Valera pulled a leadoff walk and scored when Hawks midfielder Yusuke Masago dropped the ball on a Masataka Yoshida double on the warning lane.

The Buffaloes were one shot away from ending it in the ninth game when Yoshihisa Hirano hung a fat pitch closer that pinch-hitter Seiji Uebayashi hit for a game-winning single. But the defending champion bounced back in the 10th against Hawk’s closer Yuito Mori (0-1).

Takayuki Kishi of the Rakuten Eagles plays against the Seibu Lions in a Pacific League game at Rakuten Seimei Park in Sendai on April 6, 2022. (kyodo)

With two outs and the go-ahead runner in second, Goto tripled on the run and scored an insurance run with a Sho Gibo single.

The Hawks were Nippon Professional Baseball’s last undefeated team that season.

Elsewhere in the PL, Takayuki Kishi (1-0) allowed two runs over seven innings against his former team as the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Seibu Lions 7-2 while the Nippon Ham Fighters under new manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo improved to 2-9 after a 3-2 walk-off win over the Lotte Marines.

In the Central League, defending champions Yakult Swallows defeated the Chunichi Dragons 2-1, while rookie closer Taisei Ota saved his seventh game as the Yomiuri Giants came from behind to beat the Hiroshima Carp 2-1.

The DeNA BayStars broke Masashi Ito’s shutout bid with two strikes and two outs in the ninth inning, leveling it 1-1 before hitting five runs in the 12th to beat the Hanshin Tigers 6-1.


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