Yoshinori Murata drove in the winning run with a single to left in the top of the ninth Thursday as the last-place Yomiuri Giants downed the Softbank Hawks 5-4 to avoid a three-game sweep.
Murata’s single gave the Giants a 3-2 lead at Yahoo Dome and Takayki Shimizu made it 5-2 with a bases-loaded single to center.
Yomiuri starter Kimiyasu Kudo survived a shaky ninth inning when he gave up two runs, but held on to pick up the win.
Tomohiro Nioka hit a rare inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning.
Swallows 9, Eagles 0
At Fullcast Stadium, Ryo Kawashima struck out 10 and tossed a two-hitter over the distance as Yakult blanked Rakuten.
Yuichi Matsumoto went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs for the Swallows, who have won nine of their last 10 games.
Tigers 5, Lions 3
At Koshien Stadium, Kei Igawa gave up two runs on five hits over seven innings to lead Hanshin over Seibu.
Osamu Hamanaka drove in a pair of runs with a single to right in the fourth inning when the Tigers scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead.
Buffaloes 6, BayStars 1
At Osaka Dome, Cliff Brumbaugh homered and drove in a pair of runs to lead Orix past Yokohama.
Brumbaugh singled in a run in the first inning and connected for a solo homer in the fourth to give the Buffaloes a 2-0 lead.
Marines 9, Carp 1
At Hiroshima Stadium, rookie Yasutomo Kubo gave up one on four hits over the distance as Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte downed Hiroshima.
Fighters 9, Dragons 4
At Sapporo Dome, Kuniyuki Kimoto hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to power Nippon Ham over Chunichi.
Easy day for Japan
MIYAZAKI (AP) Tsutomu Takanezawa drove in a pair of runs Thursday to lead Japan’s national team to a 7-0 win over the Philippines on the opening day of the Asian Championship.
Right-hander Kentaro Takasaki picked up the win after holding the Philippines batters hitless over six scoreless innings at Sun Marine Stadium.
In Thursday’s other game, Taiwan cruised to a 12-0 win over Thailand in a game that was called after seven innings.