Shinnosuke Abe hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning and the Yomiuri Giants padded the lead in a three-run sixth to defeat the Hiroshima Carp 6-2 to take the rubber of a three-game set on Sunday.
Abe, who homered for the second straight day, connected on the first pitch he saw from Bryan Bullington — a 142 kph fastball — for his 13th home run of the year. The Giants won their second in a row to return to .500.
“The ball slid off my bat but that was a good thing. I told that ball, ‘Get out of here!”‘ said Abe. “The cheers from the fans I’m sure helped it get over the wall. We have to keep the momentum going.”
Leading off the fourth, Soichiro Amaya took Kentaro Nishimura deep to left into a sea of red jerseys in the visitors’ cheering section and Yoshiyuki Ishihara launched a shot in the same direction one inning later to give Hiroshima a 2-0 lead at Tokyo Dome.
The Carp had a chance to extend their lead after loading the bases with one out, but Kenta Kurihara hit into an inning-ending double play.
The insurance would have helped dull the effect of Abe’s blast into the right-field seats with runners on first and second in the bottom half of the frame, but the Giants took control instead.
“It was huge for us that we were able to hold them scoreless in the fourth. That made the difference,” Abe said.
Yoshinobu Takahashi tacked on an RBI single and pinch-hitter Shinji Takahashi, who was traded from Nippon Ham in May, had a clutch two-run double with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth.
“I can’t believe this! I was hoping to make something happen. I feel great. I want to express my appreciation to the manager for using me in that situation,” said Shinji Takahashi.
“The batters before me got on base, so I was determined to give it my all.”
Bullington (11-6) was charged with five runs on six hits in five-plus innings. Nishimura (5-0) gave up two runs and eight hits in five innings for the win.
Hiroshima blew another opportunity when it loaded the bases with one out against reliever Levi Romero in the seventh. But the right-hander struck out Kurihara and Yoshihiro Maru to end the threat.
In the second inning, Giants centerfielder Hisayoshi Chono made a fine play when Shigenobu Shima doubled off the right-center wall with Takuro Ishii on first.
Ishii was waved around third and tried to score but Chono delivered a laser beam throw to cut-off man Daisuke Fujimura, who quickly relayed to Abe for the second out.
BayStars 1, Dragons 0
At Thirty-four Sagamihara Stadium, Daisuke Miura and Shun Yamaguchi combined on a three-hit shutout as Yokohama ended Chunichi’s winning streak at three games.
Miura (2-2) had a no-hitter until Masahiko Morino singled with one out in the seventh, and Yamaguchi got the last four outs. Yuta Naito hit an RBI single in the fourth.
Tigers 8, Swallows 7
At Jingu Stadium, Craig Brazell drove in three runs, Minoru Iwata (6-9) threw five scoreless innings and Hanshin sent Central League leader Yakult to its eighth loss in 10 games.
Yakult left the potential tying run on second after scoring six runs in the ninth. Wladimir Balentien hit his CL-leading 21st home run, a solo shot in the sixth.
Fighters 5, Hawks 2
At Sapporo Dome, Micah Hoffpauir had a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth inning as Nippon Ham rallied from an early two-run deficit to beat PL leader Softbank.
Yang Dai-kang and Sho Nakata hit sacrifice flies in the third and sixth, respectively, to tie the game 2-all, setting the stage for Hoffpauir’s single.
Rookie Yuki Saito pitched two-run ball over 5-2/3 innings before Yuya Ishii (2-0) won in relief. Nakata added a run-scoring single in the seventh and pinch-hitter Atsushi Ugumori led off the eighth with a homer to cushion the lead.
Buffaloes 4, Lions 2, 10 innings
At Kyocera Dome, Lee Seung Yeop hit a game-ending two-run homer in the 10th, lifting Orix over last-place Seibu.
Mamoru Kishida (4-5) pitched one scoreless inning for the win. Kazuhisa Makita (2-5) took the loss.
Marines 4, Eagles 3
At Kleenex Stadium, Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a two-run homer in the second and Shingo Ono (4-2) pitched five effective innings as Lotte edged Rakuten to halt a three-game skid.