SENDAI – Takeshi Yamasaki hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth inning off Yu Darvish, leading the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to a 4-2 win over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Saturday.
The 41-year-old slugger’s first home run since June 13 put Rakuten ahead 3-1 at Kleenex Stadium. Darvish (9-5) lost for the first time in six starts, giving up three runs — two earned — and four hits in seven innings.
“I didn’t try to hit a home run. I just wanted to drive home a runner with a base hit,” Yamasaki said. “(Kohei) Hasebe was doing his best on the mound, so I’m glad I helped him get the win. We’re still below .500 in winning percentage. We want to make up the lost ground.”
Norihiro Nakamura singled in an insurance run in the eighth.
Hasebe (3-1) held Nippon Ham to two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Hawks 9, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hidenori Tanoue and Yuichi Honda homered and drove in four runs apiece, and Tsuyoshi Wada got his baseball-leading 12th win as Fukuoka Softbank routed Orix.
Lions 9, Marines 3
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Jose Fernandez homered twice and drove in three runs and Seibu pounded out 16 hits en route to a victory over Chiba Lotte.
BayStars 7, Giants 5
At Yokohama Stadium, closer Shun Yamaguchi hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth and got his job done on the mound, leading the hosts to a win over Yomiuri.
Yamaguchi (2-6) earned the win with two scoreless innings. His bases-loaded single off Yuya Kubo (5-1) followed manager Takao Obana’s decision not to use a pinch hitter for Yamaguchi with two outs.
Dragons 4, Carp 0
At Mazda Stadium, Masahiko Morino hit a three-run homer and Kenichi Nakata pitched his first shutout of the season, leading Chunichi over Hiroshima.
Motonobu Tanishige hit a solo home run in the second inning and Morino went deep to center in the fifth, both off Eric Stults (3-7).
Nakata scattered eight hits and struck out seven in a 148-pitch outing. The Dragons shut out the Carp for the second consecutive night.
Tigers 9, Swallows 5
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Matt Murton went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, Kenji Johjima and Takahiro Arai each hit two-run homers, and Hanshin ended Yakult’s winning streak at six games.
Yasutomo Kubo (8-4) finished one out shy of a complete game. Kyuji Fujikawa finished for his 17th save. Mikinori Kato (1-1) took the loss.