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Strong start sparks Giants to fifth straight win

Kyodo

Alex Ramirez and Shinnosuke Abe hit back-to-back home runs in a five-run first inning as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Yokohama BayStars 7-5 on Sunday to extend their winning streak to five games.

Michihiro Ogasawara’s RBI single opened the scoring and Ramirez followed with a three-run shot to left-center before Abe added an opposite-field homer off Stephen Randolph (0-6).

Tetsuya Utsumi (5-0) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, while Marc Kroon picked up his fifth save. Kenji Yano doubled in two runs in the fifth inning for the Giants.

Tigers 4, Carp 3

At Koshien Stadium, Craig Brazell went 3-for-3 with a pair of solo homers and Matt Murton hit a tiebreaking two-run double, leading Hanshin over Hiroshima.

Murton’s two-out double off Kenta Maeda (5-2) put the Tigers up 4-2 in the seventh inning. Brazell homered in the second and fourth.

Ken Nishimura (4-0) pitched a perfect seventh. Kyuji Fujikawa got the last four outs for his ninth save.

Naoto Tsuru allowed two unearned runs over six innings in his first start of the season for Hanshin.

Swallows 9, Dragons 0

At Nagoya Dome, Jamie D’Antona and Aaron Guiel both homered and combined for five RBIs and Kyohei Muranaka threw seven shutout innings as Tokyo Yakult snapped its losing streak at six games with a win over Chunichi.

The Swallows took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on D’Antona’s two-run homer and Guiel’s solo blast, both off Kenta Asakura (2-2). Atsushi Fujimoto added a three-run double in the third.

Muranaka (3-4) gave up just three hits and struck out five. Yakult won for only the second time in 13 games.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 4, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Yutaro Osaki delivered a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning as Saitama Seibu defeated Softbank to move back into first place.

Kazuyuki Hoashi (5-2) pitched one-run ball over eight innings en route to his fourth straight win.

Yasuyuki Kataoka hit a tying solo homer in the third and Osaki singled to left off Shinsuke Ogura (2-1) with runners on the corners to make it 2-1 in the fifth.

Buffaloes 11, Marines 7

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Aarom Baldiris went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, helping power Orix to a win over Chiba Lotte that ended an eight-game winless streak.

Koji Yamasaki keyed a three-run fourth with a two-run single and Baldiris’ shot to left off Yuta Omine (2-2) made it 6-1 one inning later. Orix rapped out a season-high 17 hits.

Shogo Akada hit a two-run homer for more damage in a five-run sixth. Hiroshi Kisanuki (3-4) allowed four runs in five-plus innings. Saburo Omura smacked a two-run drive in the sixth for the Marines.

Fighters 7, Eagles 3

At Hakodate’s Ocean Stadium, Shinji Takahashi broke a seventh-inning tie with a grand slam, leading Hokkaido Nippon Ham past Tohoku Rakuten.

Takahashi homered to left-center off Masahiro Tanaka (4-3) for his third hit of the afternoon. Keisuke Tanimoto (1-1) won in relief.