Kaito Yoza delivers in clutch during Lions’ win over Hawks

Kaito Yoza provided some clutch relief, helping the Seibu Lions to a 4-2 Pacific League win over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Thursday.

The submarine right-hander inherited a one-out bases-loaded pickle at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome after Seibu’s starting pitcher, Burch Smith, left with an injury with the Lions leading 3-1.

“We had a time out, so I was able to warm up until I was ready,” Yoza (1-1) said. “(The pitching coach) just told me, ‘Go out there and do your best,’ and I just pitched for all I was worth.”

Yoza got a pair of fly outs and went on to allow one run on five hits over 3⅔ innings.

With two on in the first, Hotaka Yamakawa blasted his eighth home run of the year off Hawks starter Colin Rea (1-2) to score leadoff man Sosuke Genda and Brian O’Grady.

In the fifth inning, Genda tripled and scored on an O’Grady single. Tatsushi Masuda, Seibu’s sixth pitcher, worked the ninth to earn his fifth save. Yuki Yanagita hit a solo home run for the Hawks, his second.

Elsewhere, Yuma Imagawa homered twice for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 6-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes, while Masaru Fujii (1-0) worked six scoreless innings in his pro debut as the Rakuten Eagles beat the Lotte Marines 2-1.

In the Central League, the Yomiuri Giants whipped the DeNA BayStars 7-0, the Hanshin Tigers came from behind to beat the Chunichi Dragons 3-2, and a nine-run eighth inning earned the Yakult Swallows a 9-5 win over the Hiroshima Carp.

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