Shohei Otani finished his injury-hit pitching season with a two-hitter, while scoring a run from the cleanup spot in the Nippon Ham Fighters' 3-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday.
Expected to move to the majors via the posting system after the season, the game was probably be his last at Sapporo Dome, and marked the first time this year that he has been in the lineup as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Otani (3-2) looked emotional on the mound in his final inning and appeared to be overthrowing, completely unable to locate his fastball. He issued two one-out walks before a double play ended the game. The 23-year-old struck out 10 but walked five.
Taishi Ota drove in all three runs in the game against Orix's ace pitcher Chihiro Kaneko (12-8), who allowed nine hits but no walks, while striking out seven over eight innings.
Otani cruised through four innings and sparked a three-run rally with a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth before he faced his first challenge of the game in the fifth.
A leadoff single and a walk put his feet to the fire, but a series of poor swings on wicked sliders got the big right-hander out of trouble with a minimum of fuss.
Otani grounded out to end the first inning against Kaneko to strand a runner on second.
But with one out in the fifth, Kaneko left a fastball in the heart of the zone and lined it past the pitcher and into center. Back-to-back singles by rookie Toshitake Yokoo and veteran Kensuke Tanaka loaded the bases for Ota, who cleared them with a double.
In the sixth, Otani was called out despite beating the throw to first on a groundball, and in his last at-bat at Sapporo Dome, he struck out swinging at a 3-2 forkball.
BayStars 2, Dragons 1
At Yokohama Stadium, after hitting a home run in his debut at-bat with the first team the day before, Seiya Hosokawa made it two in two games, breaking a 1-1 tie to push playoff-bound DeNA past Chunichi.