Baseball: Uwasawa and Nishikawa on song as fighters stun buffaloes

Nippon Ham Fighters’ Naoyuki Uwasawa throws against the Orix Buffaloes in their Pacific League game at Kyocera Dome Osaka on October 6, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) – Naoyuki Uwasawa pitched seven innings of one run and Haruki Nishikawa went 2 for 4 with two runs batted in as the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Pacific League leader Orix Buffaloes 3-2 Wednesday, picking up their eight-man streak victory.

Uwasawa (11-7) struck out five hits and allowed three hits, allowing his only run on a Kotaro Kurebayashi brace late in the first at Kyocera Dome Osaka.

“I really wanted this win today. The team came together and did it. I’m really happy,” said Uwasawa.

Nishikawa’s RBI included a brace in the third inning that tied the game at 1-1 and a sacrifice fly that gave the Fighters a 2-1 lead in the seventh.

Buffaloes rookie starter Soichiro Yamazaki came out early after finding himself in a fourth inning jam, but the bullpen held the line until the Fighters jumped on reliever Tomoyuki Kaida (0- 1) in seventh.

With one out, the left-hander walked Yushi Shimizu and gave Daiki Asama a single, placing the runners first and third. Nishikawa pushed Kaida’s 2-2 cutter deep to the center, helping Shimizu beat the home throw.

Next hitter, Yuki Nomura, scored a center single before Kensuke Kondo lined up an RBI single to the right, chasing Kaida and giving the Fighters a two-point lead.

Yuma Mune reduced the deficit in the eighth with a single RBI before Nippon Ham reliever Bryan Rodriguez hit Kurebayashi to end the set and block the equalizer.

The result leaves Orix just half a game ahead of the Lotte Marines, who beat the Seibu Lions 4-2 with home runs from Takashi Ogino and Leonys Martin at Zozo Marine Stadium.

At PayPay Dome, Takero Okajima scored two points and Ryota Takinaka took the win as the Rakuten Eagles beat the SoftBank Hawks 5-0.

In the Central League, starter Cy Sneed (5-2) struck out seven strikes in five innings for premier Yakult Swallows, who beat the Yomiuri Giants 3-0 at Jingu Stadium.

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Ryosuke Kikuchi went 2 on 3 with three RBIs for the Hiroshima Carp in a 7-3 victory over the Chunichi Dragons.

At Yokohama Stadium, Mel Rojas Jr. notched a two-run homer in the fourth inning of the Hanshin Tigers 2-0 win over DeNA BayStars.

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