Baseball: Gonzalez, rookie Yamashita lift Orix over Rakuten

New import Marwin Gonzalez homered twice and 20-year-old rookie Shumpeita Yamashita struck out 10 over five innings to earn his first career win Tuesday as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Rakuten Eagles 6-0.

Gonzalez, who hit 107 home runs as a versatile MLB utility player between 2012 and 2022, blasted his second homer of the season with a man on in the third for the defending Pacific League champions at Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi.

Yamashita (1-0), the Buffaloes' top draft signing in 2020, allowed two hits, two walks and a hit batsman. In his first two games in Japan's majors, the right-hander has struck out 17 batters in 10-1/3 innings.

"My approach was the same as it was on Opening Day, to challenge hitters and make each pitch count," said Yamashita, who mixed in a good fastball with a huge breaking curve. "I had a tough spot in the middle of my outing, so I just trusted in my catcher and I was able to get through it."

Gonzalez homered again in the sixth to make it 3-0 and singled and scored in Orix's three-run eighth.

Eagles starter Takahiro Norimoto (0-2) allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings.

Elsewhere in the PL, Ryoya Kurihara drove in three runs, including the 10th-inning game winner for the SoftBank Hawks in a 4-3 walk-off win over the Nippon Ham Fighters, while the Seibu Lions punished the Lotte Marines 8-3.

In the Central League, Munetaka Murakami, who last year became Japan's youngest Triple Crown-winning hitter, blasted his first home run since Opening Day for the Yakult Swallows in a 6-3 win over the DeNA BayStars.

The Yomiuri Giants snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers behind seven outstanding innings from Japan right-hander Shosei Togo, while the Hiroshima Carp beat the Chunichi Dragons 4-1.

© Kyodo News