Second-year right-hander Juri Hara outpitched Takahiro Norimoto to lead the Tokyo Yakult Swallows to a 6-2 interleague win over the Pacific League-leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Thursday.
The 23-year-old Hara (2-3) pitched his first career complete game, holding the Eagles to two runs on four hits at Jingu Stadium. Hara, the Swallows’ top draft pick in 2015, struck out six without issuing a walk.
Norimoto (8-2) entered the game looking to extend his record streak of eight consecutive games with 10-plus strikeouts, but fanned eight over seven innings. The 26-year-old Norimoto, a three-time PL strikeout leader, allowed four runs — two earned — on seven hits and a walk.
“I knew the streak was going to end eventually. What’s more frustrating is not being able to win it for the team,” Norimoto said.
Rakuten’s Zelous Wheeler broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with his 13th home run, a two-out solo shot. But Yuhei Takai, who played high school ball in Sendai, went 4-for-4 to power Yakult’s comeback.
Takai singled to lead off the fifth, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Keiji Obiki squeeze. His two-out, two-run double in the sixth broke the tie for good.
It was the second straight win for the Swallows, who entered the day in last place in the Central League, 16 games out of first place.
Carp 7, Buffaloes 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima scored five first-inning runs off Brandon Dickson (5-5), and second-year righty Akitake Okada (7-2) allowed two runs in six innings to earn the win over Orix.
The Buffaloes have lost four straight.
BayStars 6, Marines 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Jimmy Paredes homered his first two times up for Chiba Lotte, but Yokohama overcame a 2-1 deficit on Toshiro Miyazaki’s fifth-inning grand slam.
Tigers 3, Lions 2 (10)
At Koshien Stadium, Fumihito Haraguchi hit a sayonara single in the 10th inning off Brian Schlitter (0-1) to lead Hanshin past Seibu.
The Lions’ Ernesto Mejia belted a two-run homer.
Fighters 5, Dragons 4
At Nagoya Dome, pinch runner Susumu Orui tagged up and scored on an eighth-inning fly ball in foul territory to break a 3-3 tie, Haruki Nishikawa singled in another run and Hokkaido Nippon Ham held on to beat Chunichi.
Hawks 7, Giants 3
At Tokyo Dome, Akira Nakamura’s sixth-inning RBI single and seventh-inning RBI double helped Fukuoka SoftBank pull away from Yomiuri and avoid a three-game sweep.