Former New York Yankee Masahiro Tanaka toughed out six scoreless innings as he battled his control to earn his second straight win in the Rakuten Eagles' 3-0 Pacific League victory over the Lotte Marines on Saturday.
Tanaka (2-1) struck out six, walked a batter and hit a batter while scattering five hits at Sendai's Rakuten Seimei Miyagi Park in his third start since returning from the major leagues. Tanaka managed just one perfect inning in a 106-pitch outing.
Right-hander Kota Futaki (1-2), the Marines Opening Day starter, gave up six hits and three walks while striking out four in his five innings on the mound.
He surrendered the lead on three third-inning singles, the third to the Eagles' batting star, Hideto Asamura.
"I feel a lot of pressure when Tanaka pitches, so I wanted to execute well on the batting side and I'm glad I could do that," he said.
Takero Okajima gave Tanaka some breathing room in the fourth inning, when his second home run of the season, a two-run shot, made it a 3-0 game.
Eagles right-handers Sung Chia-hao and Tomohito Sakai each worked out of trouble for one inning apiece before southpaw closer Yuki Matsui pitched the ninth and earned his seventh save.
At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, Nick Martinez (1-0) worked six innings to win his debut for the defending PL champion SoftBank Hawks in a 13-0 demolition of the Orix Buffaloes.
At Sapporo Dome, the Nippon Ham Fighters overturned a three-run ninth-inning deficit on a two-run Sho Nakata home run, a Taishi Ota RBI double and a game-ending bases-loaded walk to beat the Seibu Lions 5-4.
At Tokyo Dome, Dayan Viciedo hit two-run home run and Yohei Oshima drove in three runs in the Chunichi Dragons' 9-6 win over the defending Central League champion Yomiuri Giants.
At Yokohama Stadium, Tyler Austin homered and scored three runs as the DeNA BayStars beat the Yakult Swallows 10-2.