YOKOHAMA – Tomoaki Kanemoto finally got his 2,000th career hit after an 0-for-15 slump as the Hanshin Tigers rallied to beat the Yokohama BayStars 6-3 on Saturday.
Kanemoto lined an RBI single to right on a 2-2 fastball from Hayato Terahara (1-2) in the seventh inning, pushing Hanshin’s lead to 5-3 at Yokohama Stadium and becoming the 37th player in Japanese baseball to join the “Meikyukai (Golden Players Club), a prestigious fraternity received for players that reach 2,000 hits, earn 200 wins or amass 250 saves.
“Sorry that I kept fans waiting too long, but I’m glad I had my 2,000th hit with a runner in scoring position,” Kanemoto said.
“I’ll try to continue to get as many hits as possible in a Tigers uniform,” added Kanemoto, who went 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs, one on a run-scoring groundout in the first.
The 40-year-old outfielder has extended his unofficial world record of playing in consecutive games without missing an inning to 1,199 — a record dating back to July 21, 1999.
He is also three home runs shy of becoming the 15th Nippon Professional Baseball player to reach 400 homers.
Hanshin tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth on a two-run single by Norihiro Akahoshi and made it 5-3 when Kanemoto followed a Takahiro Arai go-ahead triple with his base hit.
Ryo Watanabe (1-0) picked up the win in relief. Kyuji Fujikawa earned his Central League-leading eighth save with a scoreless ninth.
Shuichi Murata put Yokohama ahead 3-1 with a two-run homer in the third, but Terahara blew the lead and was chased in the seventh.
Carp 3, Dragons 1
At Hiroshima Stadium, Alex Ochoa and Scott Seabol homered to help Hiroshima beat Chunichi for its fourth win in five games.
Hiroshima turned a 1-0 deficit into a two-run lead in the fourth inning on Ochoa’s two-run shot and Seabol’s second home run in as many games.
Ken Takahashi (1-1) held the Dragons to one run and five hits in six-plus innings. Takashi Ogasawara (2-1) was charged with three runs in five innings for Chunichi, which took its third loss in four games.
Swallows 8, Giants 4
At Tokyo Dome, Adam Riggs hit a three-run go-ahead homer for the night’s heroics and then had to be taken to a hospital for a precautionary X-ray after he was hit in the head with a pitch in the ninth inning as Yakult ended a four-game losing skid with a win over Yomiuri.
Riggs connected to the stands in right on an 0-2 fastball off reliever Kiyoshi Toyoda, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead with two out in the seventh and was belted in the back of the helmet by Takahiko Nomaguchi’s forkball two innings later.
Shinya Miyamoto added a bases-loaded two-run single in the ninth for insurance. Alex Ramirez hit a three-run drive to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth before Yomiuri’s bullpen fell to pieces. Daniel Rios (1-1) got his first win in Japan, allowing four runs in six innings.
Eagles 3, Buffaloes 0
At Kleenex Stadium, Masahiro Tanaka pitched his first shutout of the season in a 10-strikeout effort as Tohoku Rakuten blanked Orix.
Tanaka (2-1) allowed three hits and walked three in a 131-pitch outing en route to recording his second career shutout.
Hawks 8, Lions 5
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Hiroki Kokubo hit a tiebreaking three-run homer with two out in the seventh as Softbank prevailed in a seesaw contest over Seibu.
Shinsuke Ogura (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up his first career win and D.J. Houlton, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was perfect over the last two innings for his first save in Japan.
Marines 2, Fighters 1
At Chiba Marine Stadium, pinch hitter Shoitsu Omatsu delivered a go-ahead RBI single with two out in the bottom of the ninth, lifting Chiba Lotte to a “sayonara” win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Mariners starter Yoshihisa Naruse (2-1) gave up one unearned run and two hits over the distance, striking out seven with one walk.
Reliever Naoki Miyanishi (0-1) was charged with the loss for Nippon Ham.