Lions triumph on walk in 10th


Yasuyuki Kataoka drew a bases-loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning as the front-running Seibu Lions came back from deficits of 4-0 and 7-4 to stay a half-game ahead of Softbank at the top of the league standigs.

News photoTohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles starter Hiroki Yamamura delivers a pitch against the Seibu Lions on Saturday at Invoice Seibu Dome. The Lions won 8-7.

Rakuten reliever Kazuo Fukumori (0-3) loaded the bases with three walks before giving up the winning run when he walked Kataoka on four pitches at Invoice Seibu Dome. Seibu tied the game at 7-7 in the seventh on an Alex Cabrera RBI double and a two-run homer by Jeff Liefer off Shinichiro Koyama.

Rick Short hit his first grand slam in Japan with a third-inning shot, giving Rakuten a four-run lead, before Seibu pulled within one run on a bases-clearing double from Kazuhiro Wada.

Yosuke Takasu capped a three-run fourth for Rakuten with a run-scoring single, while rookie catcher Ginjiro Sumitani homered for the Lions in the bottom half. Chikara Onodera (6-2) got the win.

Hawks 5, Buffaloes 2

At Fukuoka Yahoo Dome, Hidenori Tanoue delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning as Softbank rallied to beat Orix and move a season-high 19 games above .500 with its fourth straight win.

Tanoue singled up the middle off Daisuke Kato (0-6) with two outs and runners on second and third to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead before Naoyuki Omura added a two-run single in the eighth.

Shintaro Yoshitake (2-1) got the win after two scoreless innings of relief. Takahiro Mahara picked up his 24th save of the season.

The Buffaloes took a 2-0 lead through five innings on RBI singles from Yoshitomo Tani and Eiji Mizuguchi, but the Hawks started the rally with an RBI groundout by Jolbert Cabrera in the sixth.

Fighters 5, Marines 1

At Sapporo Dome, Yu Darvish pitched seven solid innings and Kensuke Tanaka had a pair of RBI hits, lifting Hokkaido Nippon Ham over Chiba Lotte for its first win in three games.

Darvish (8-5) held the Marines to one run and two hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in winning his sixth straight decision. Tanaka hit a tying single in the third inning and put the Fighters ahead 2-1 in the fifth with a run-scoring double off Shingo Ono (6-7).


Dragons 11, Tigers 1

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Araki ignited a four-run second inning with an RBI single and Masahiro Yamamoto threw seven solid innings as front-running Chunichi crushed Hanshin for its fifth straight win.

The Dragons broke a 1-1 tie and took a 5-1 lead in the second inning on run-scoring singles from Araki, Hirokazu Ibata and Tyrone Woods and a wild pitch by Taiyo Fujita.

Veteran lefty Yamamoto (6-6) held second-place Hanshin to one run and five hits while helping his own cause with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single. Woods also hit a solo home run and finished 4-for-4 and knocked in two runs.

Swallows 2, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Akinori Iwamura homered in his first two at-bats and Masanori Ishikawa and four relievers combined on a 10-hit shutout, leading Tokyo Yakult Swallows to a victory over the BayStars.

Iwamura connected in the first and third innings off rookie right-hander Shun Yamaguchi (1-2), making a winner of Ishikawa (8-6), who scattered eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for his first win since June 17.

Masao Kida picked up his eighth save after pitching himself out of a two-on jam in the ninth.

Carp 3, Giants 2

At Hiroshima Stadium, Yoshiyuki Ishihara singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as Hiroshima handed Yomiuri its third loss in a row.

With one out and runners on the corners, Ishihara hit a comebacker and the ball deflected off Giants reliever Yuya Kubo (4-4) and into left field. Ken Takahashi (2-2) got the win after pitching two innings of scoreless relief.

Fujikawa off roster

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa was removed from the active roster on Saturday with a neck injury, the club said.

Team officials said Fujikawa, who is 4-0 with 10 saves and an 0.29 earned run average in 49 games, twisted his neck while sleeping on Thursday morning and has since complained of unabated pain.

Fujikawa received examinations last Monday after having a stiff pitching shoulder.