Masanori Ishikawa threw six solid innings and Yasushi Iihara went 3-for-4 with an RBI as the Yakult Swallows dropped the Hanshin Tigers back to a tie for the Central League lead with a 3-1 victory on Monday.
Ishikawa (12-10) tied a career high in wins after holding the Tigers to a run on five hits and lowering his ERA to 2.681, second in the CL to Hiroshima Carp right-hander Colby Lewis’ 2.679. The league’s title race, meanwhile, is heading into the final stretch with four games remaining for both Hanshin and the Yomiuri Giants.
Yakult went ahead 2-0 in the first inning on a Norichika Aoki RBI double and Iihara’s run-scoring single at Jingu Stadium.
Tomoaki Kanemoto hit his 26th home run of the season to pull Hanshin within a run in the top of the fourth, but Ishikawa pushed Yakult’s lead back to two runs with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning.
Chris Resop (0-2) was charged with three runs in four innings. Lim Chang Yong picked up his 31st save.
BayStars 2, Carp 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Tatsuhiko Kinjo hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning as Yokohama rallied to beat Hiroshima, which failed in its bid for a first winning season since 2001.
Kinjo drove in Yuki Yoshimura, who had reached on a two-out single and stolen second, with a single to center field off Tomohiro Umetsu (0-3) in Hiroshima’s final game of the season.
Kenta Kurihara got Hiroshima on the board in the first with an RBI infield single before Yoshimura scored the tying run in the second when the Carp failed to turn an inning-ending double play on a grounder by Toshio Saito.
Hawks 4, Eagles 1
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Keisuke Kaneko and Hidenori Tanoue drove in two runs apiece to back a solid outing by Nagisa Arakaki as Softbank beat Tohoku Rakuten to share fifth place with only one game left in the Pacific League between the bottom two teams.
Softbank built a 4-0 lead on Kaneko’s two-run single in the fifth inning and Tanoue’s two-run homer in the sixth off Hideki Asai (9-11) on its way to snapping a three-game losing streak.
Arakaki (4-6) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. Takahiro Mahara finished for his 11th save of the season and career 100th.