Hawks beat Marines to extend season-opening win streak to five


Akira Nakamura went 3-for-4 with an RBI on Wednesday as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks came back to beat the Chiba 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 back-to-back base-rich walks against left-handed reliever Shota Suzuki (0-2), who was charged 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 Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 5-3, while the Tohoku Rakuten Golden 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 their Cross City rivals the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3-1 at Jingu Stadium.

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