TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – The Yomiuri Giants won their fifth straight interleague game on Tuesday and stretched their unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 5-2 win over the Seibu Lions.
Hayato Sakamoto hit the first homer this season off submarine right-hander Kazuhisa Makita. The Pacific League’s 2011 Rookie of the Year fell to 2-4. The homer was Sakamoto’s fifth of the year and his third in five interleague games.
The Lions tied it at 1-1 in the top of the sixth on an Esteban German sacrifice fly, but ran out of luck in the bottom of the inning at Seibu Dome. With one out and the bases loaded, Hisayoshi Chono hit a comebacker off Makita. The ball fell at his feet, but the pitcher looked the wrong way and everyone was safe on an RBI infield single.
“When you get a situation like that, you want to do something,” said Chono, who went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in the Giants’ leadoff spot. “It’s a good thing we won. We want to keep that winning feeling going and continue to do well (in interleague).”
Buffaloes 6, Tigers 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, surprising rookie Takayoshi Kawabata opened the scoring in the sixth with his first career home run, a grand slam, and Chihiro Kaneko (2-1) faced just 28 batters over the distance in shutting out Hanshin.
The 27-year-old Kawabata, the Buffaloes’ eighth-round draft pick last autumn, is batting .301. First-year South Korean slugger Lee Dae Ho homered for the third-straight game.
Fighters 6, BayStars 2
At Sapporo Dome, Terrmel Sledge brought Hokkaido Nippon Ham from behind with a third-inning grand slam and former major leaguer Kazuhito Tadano (3-0) allowed two runs in six innings for the win.
Trailing by two in the third, Yang Dai-kang singled in a run with two outs, and Sledge put an exclamation point on the Fighters’ comeback.
Hawks 9, Carp 1
At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Softbank’s Hiroki Kokubo had two hits, leaving him just one shy of the 2,000-hit milestone in a victory over Hiroshima.
Kokubo finished 2-for-5.
The Carp, who allowed five runs in the final inning to blow a ninth-inning lead on Sunday, picked up where they left off by surrendering five runs in the first in Fukuoka. Bryan Bullington (2-4) allowed five runs — three earned — on five hits and two walks in just one inning.
Lending a hand
March’s charity game between Japan and Taiwan raised ¥100 million toward disaster relief in Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, Nippon Professional Baseball announced Tuesday.
Most of the money will go to organizations helping children who suffered in the March 11, 2011, disaster. Over 12 million yen was raised through the auction of signed uniforms that were worn in Japan’s 9-2 victory.
The hottest property in the auction was the uniform of DeNA BayStars infielder Naoto Watanabe, who spent most of his career with the Sendai-based Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. His uniform sold for ¥1.85 million. Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka’s shirt was next at ¥1.33 million, while the uniform of Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters idol Yuki Saito surpassed ¥1.03 million.