Baseball: Buffaloes' bats lift rookie Yamashita to victory

Orix Buffaloes rookie Shumpeita Yamashita overcame some early trouble to go seven innings and rode some big offense, including an unlikely home run, as the Pacific League leaders won 10-0 Wednesday over the Lotte Marines.

Yamashita pitched out of a one-out bases-loaded first-inning pickle at Kyocera Dome Osaka before settling down, and earned the win after the middle of the Buffaloes' order went off.

"I didn't pitch well, but the offense picked me up," Yamashita (7-1) said.

PL batting leader Yuma Tongu singled to open the fifth inning against Lotte lefty Kazuya Ojima (5-3). Yutaro Sugimoto doubled and both scored on a Marwin Gonzalez single.

Tongu singled in the seventh to put two on for Sugimoto. The stout right-handed slugger drove a pitch high off the wall in left-center that bounded away from the two closest outfielders, allowing Sugimoto to circle the bases with an inside-the-park home run.

"I felt like I was going to die circling the bases, so next time I want to get it over the wall," said 104-kilogram Sugimoto, who added that he made up his mind to score as he rounded second.

"Personally, I think I'm pretty fast, so I believed I could do it."

Gonzalez followed with a single to reignite the six-run inning. Tongu homered to open Orix's eighth, when Sugimoto doubled to set up the Buffaloes' final run.

The second-place SoftBank Hawks got six strong innings from Carter Stewart Jr., who allowed one unearned run but failed to collect his first win in Japan, in a 3-2 victory over the Rakuten Eagles, while the Seibu Lions got past the Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0 in Okinawa.

In the Central League, Masato Morishita (4-1) pitched seven innings and hit his first career home run, a tie-breaking three-run shot that powered the Hiroshima Carp to a 6-2 win over the DeNA BayStars.

The Chunichi Dragons beat the league-leading Hanshin Tigers 4-2 in 10 innings, and the Yakult Swallows downed the Yomiuri Giants 6-0 in a rain-shortened six-inning game.

© Kyodo News