Baseball: Orix, Rakuten end pitching duel in scoreless tie

©Kyodo News

Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Rakuten Eagles counterpart Takahiro Norimoto went toe-to-toe Wednesday in a Pacific League pitching duel that ended with five total hits and no runs.

The scoreless tie came a day after the two sides opened their series with a 5-5 stalemate at Kyocera Dome Osaka, where play is taking place behind closed doors during the coronavirus state of emergency through May 11.

Yamamoto (3-2) went the distance for his second complete-game shutout of the season, striking out five, while giving up three hits and a walk in his 96-pitch outing.

Norimoto (2-1) fanned six and allowed two hits and a walk over eight. He combined with closer Yuki Matsui on the shutout for the Eagles, who came into the game on top of the PL standings.

Rakuten catcher Hikaru Ota singled in the sixth and ninth to go 2-for-3.

Matsui was in control of the final frame before walking consecutive batters with two out. But the lefty struck out Takahiro Okada looking on a 2-2 slider to end the game.

The Seibu Lions beat the Lotte Marines 3-2 after Takumi Kuriyama broke the tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth at MetLife Dome.

In the Central League, Dayan Viciedo belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth as the Chunichi Dragons recorded their second win in a row against the CL-leading Hanshin Tigers at Vantelin Dome Nagoya.

Justin Smoak, Kazuma Okamoto and Yoshihiro Maru homered for the Yomiuri Giants in a 7-3 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium in Wednesday's other Nippon Professional Baseball game behind closed doors.