FUKUOKA – Jose Ortiz provided the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit, two-RBI single in the sixth inning as Softbank came back from three runs down to beat the Seibu Lions 5-4 Monday, sweeping the Pacific League leaders in a three-game homestand.
Ortiz drove in the pair of runs with two outs and the bases loaded, after Hitoshi Tamura had pulled the Hawks within one of the Lions, who dropped their fourth straight.
Softbank has beaten Seibu six consecutive times at Yahoo Dome. The Lions’ magic number stood at four as the Hawks moved within half a game of first place.
Jose Fernandez homered in the first inning and went 4-for-4 for Seibu. He has hit in nine straight at-bats, a team record and the PL’s second-longest streak of all time.
Fernandez needs to hit in his next two at-bats to tie the Japanese record. The PL record is 10.
Masahiko Morifuku (3-1) picked up the victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while Takahiro Mahara struck out two in the ninth to earn his 32nd save.
Former major leaguer Kazuhisa Ishii (9-6) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs before he left the game in the sixth inning with a bruised finger on his throwing hand.
Seibu’s Yasuyuki Kataoka was also hurt, injuring his right calf muscle in the fourth.
Fighters 3, Buffaloes 2
At Sapporo Dome, Eiichi Koyano drove in the game-winning RBI in a three-run third inning — his 108th of the season — as Hokkaido Nippon Ham beat Orix to win for the fifth time in six games.
Hiroshi Kisanuki (10-12) allowed three runs in less than three innings of work for his 12th loss of the year, worst in the PL.
Marines 9, Eagles 7 (12)
At Kleenex Stadium, Chiba Lotte ended a 16-game losing streak in Sendai as Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 4-for-6 with a homer and four RBIs, his 25th game in which he has had at least three hits this year.
Toshiyuki Imae won it for the Marines in the top of the 12th inning with an RBI double to score Nishioka — one of five hits Imae had on this day.
Tigers 4, Giants 2
At Koshien Stadium, Lin Wei-zhu hit a two-run home run and Kenji Johjima added a solo shot as Hanshin edged Yomiuri to move a full game ahead of the third-place Giants.
The second-place Tigers have won three of their last four, and got a solid six-inning outing from 19-year-old Takumi Akiyama (4-1), who held the Giants to two earned runs.
Swallows 4, Dragons 3
At Jingu Stadium, Hiroyasu Tanaka’s tiebreaking single in the fifth inning gave Yakult its third win in four games as the Swallows edged first-place Chunichi.
Carp 9, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Hiroshima rolled to its fourth straight win as the Carp roughed up Daisuke Miura (3-8) and Yokohama.
Miura gave up seven earned runs on eight hits including two homers to Kenta Kurihara before he was chased in the sixth inning. Kurihara led the Carp’s 14-hit onslaught with the first two-homer game of his career.