Shohei Tateyama pitched his fourth complete game of the season and helped his own cause with a tiebreaking double as the front-running Tokyo Yakult Swallows beat the Yomiuri Giants 4-2 for their third straight victory on Wednesday night.
Wladimir Balentien opened the scoring with a bases-loaded RBI grounder in the first inning before a Shinnosuke Abe homer tied it at 1-1 in the top of the second at Jingu Stadium.
But Shingo Kawabata led off the bottom half with a single to center and one out later, Tateyama drove in Kawabata from second with his double off the right-field wall.
Yomiuri starter Norihito Kaneto hit Norichika Aoki with a pitch and Hiroyasu Tanaka singled to load the bases for Josh Whitesell, who belted a sac fly to right to extend the lead before Kazuhiro Hatakeyama drove in the fourth run on a base hit to left.
Tateyama (7-1) scattered nine hits, struck out nine and walked none in a 109-pitch outing.
Kaneto (1-4), who struggled with control issues in his shortest start of the season, also hit Whitesell with a pitch in the side of the helmet in the first and got the hook after just 1⅔ innings.
Kawabata went 3-for-4 on the night. Balentien, who had a walk-off single in Tuesday’s win over the Giants, was held hitless in four at-bats.
Giants leadoff man Hayato Sakamoto had three hits.
Dragons 5, Tigers 3
At Nagoya Dome, Masaaki Koike hit a grand slam to rally Chunichi over Hanshin in a five-run sixth inning.
Reliever Masato Kobayashi (1-0) got the win after Maximo Nelson yielded three runs in 5⅔ innings. Naoto Tsuru (0-2) gave up four runs in five-plus innings of the loss.
BayStars 4, Carp 0
Marines 1, Fighters 0
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Shingo Ono threw eight shutout innings of four-hit ball as Lotte edged Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Kazuya Fukuura had an RBI groundout in the fourth for the sole run. Ono (2-0) struck out five and walked none and Yasuhiko Yabuta picked up his 14th save. Mitsuo Yoshikawa (0-2) took the loss.
Hawks 5, Lions 2
At Saitama’s Seibu Dome, Tsuyoshi Wada tossed eight shutout innings in a nine-strikeout effort as Softbank downed Seibu to become the first team with 40 victories in Japanese baseball this season.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 3
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Randy Ruiz hit a game-tying homer leading off the ninth inning and after Mamoru Kishida (3-4) threw a wild pitch for the go-ahead run, Teppei Tsuchiya added an RBI double for insurance for Tohoku Rakuten.
Darrell Rasner (3-2) pitched 1⅓ scoreless frames for the win. Orix failed to preserve three leads and saw its winning streak snapped at four games.