Baseball: SoftBank rookie Sunagawa demolishes Buffaloes

© Kyodo News

Rookie Richard Sunagawa drove in six runs with a sacrifice fly and two home runs, including a game-reversing grand slam, in the SoftBank Hawks' 12-4 win over the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes on Sunday.

Trailing by a run after his first career RBI on a second-inning sacrifice fly, Sunagawa came up with one out in the fourth and worked the count full against veteran right-hander Hirotoshi Masui (3-6) before slamming a fastball down the pipe well past the center-field wall.

"My teammates made it so I came to bat in the best possible situation. I was as focused as I've ever been in my life. I knew it was going out when I hit it. I knew it would bring us from behind, and that made me happy," said the 22-year-old Sunagawa, a native of Okinawa Prefecture, who blasted a solo homer to lead off the Hawks' four-run seventh.

"To hit a home run in this ballpark has been a dream of mine."

The Hawks added two more runs in the fourth to give 40-year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (5-5) some breathing room. Wada allowed two runs over five innings.

He was replaced on the mound by American rookie Carter Stewart Jr., who struck out six batters in a row, but allowed two runs before leaving after three innings.