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Sacrifice fly helps Swallows rally to beat Carp

Kyodo

Pinch hitter Shinichi Takeuchi hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth inning as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows rallied to edge the Hiroshima Carp 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Yoshihiro Maru had smacked a two-run homer over the right-center wall to give Hiroshima a 2-1 lead with two outs in the third before Yakult caught Hiroshima starter Kenta Maeda in the decisive sixth frame at Jingu Stadium.

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama led off the bottom of the second with a double off the left-center wall, and plated the opening run two outs later on Shingo Kawabata’s single into the gap in left.

Maeda was fortunate to limit the damage to just one run in the frame after loading the bases, fanning leadoff man Norichika Aoki on a called third strike to end the threat.

The right-hander’s struggles continued in the fourth. He struck out Wladimir Balentien for the first out, only to walk the next two batters before Ryoji Aikawa reached on an error by shortstop Koji Kimura to juice the bases.

This time, Maeda escaped unscathed on a strikeout to opposing pitcher Yuki Shichijo and a groundout to Aoki for the final out.

But Balentien led off the sixth with a single up the middle and Aikawa tied it 2-2 on his single to center with runners at the corners followed by Takeuchi’s sac fly to left.

“This was my chance to do something for the team in that situation and I’m just happy I could get the job done,” Takeuchi said. “I wasn’t sure of it being a sac fly. I was relieved when we went ahead.”

Shichijo (3-0) threw two-run ball over six innings for the win.

“I was just trying to do my best to set the pace of the game through five innings,” Shichijo said.

Giants 2, BayStars 0

At Tokyo Dome, Kentaro Nishimura pitched five shutout innings in a seven-strikeout effort and four relievers held Yokohama scoreless the rest of the way in Yomiuri’s win.

Tigers 9, Dragons1

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 13, Buffaloes 5

At Obihiro Forest Stadium, Brian Wolfe (9-3) pitched three-run ball over five innings and Bobby Scales hit a grand slam to highlight a seven-run fourth as Hokkaido Nippon Ham rallied in a rout of Orix.

Lions 4, Marines 1

At Saitama’s Seibu Dome, Takuya Hara drove in two runs in support of Kazuyuki Hoashi (5-5), who yielded one run over eight strong innings to help Seibu beat Chiba Lotte for its third win in a row.

Eagles 3, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Hisashi Iwakuma (4-2) limited the damage to one run in seven innings in his return from injury to earn his first win since Apr. 26 as Tohoku Rakuten downed Fukuoka Softbank, which saw its winning streak snapped at four and fell into a share of first with Nippon Ham.