The Tokyo Yakult Swallows snapped their longest losing streak since 1973 on Thursday night as slumping Kazuhiro Hatakeyama doubled in the game’s first run and fired the first shot of a three-homer salvo at Jingu Stadium.
Orlando Roman (3-5), allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings and doubled in the game’s second run in a 10-5 victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters that ended the hosts’ 10-game losing streak.
Hatakeyama led off the third against Fighters pitcher Yuki Saito (4-4) with his second homer of the year. After the visitors got on the board through Sho Nakata’s second homer in three games, the Swallows slugged back in the bottom of the sixth.
Yuji Iihara led off with his first homer of the year, and a grand slam by Lastings Milledge, his seventh jack of the year, capped the five-run bloodletting.
“We haven’t played our kind of ball,” Iihara said. “It feels good to win.”
Nippon Ham star Atsunori Inaba became the 44th player in Japan to play in 2,000 games. Inaba, who also reached 2,000 hits for his career in April, played his first 1,023 games for the Swallows.
Giants 4, Eagles 2
At Tokyo Dome, Yoshinobu Takahashi, who drove in the only runs in Wednesday’s no-hit victory over Tohoku Rakuten, belted another two-run homer as Yomiuri moved eight games over .500.
Edgar Gonzalez, who returned to the Giants on May 17 after playing for them in 2010, had his first two hits of the season, including an RBI single.
Carp 5, Lions 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Nick Stavinhoa had RBI singles in his first two at-bats off Seibu southpaw Kazuhisa Ishii (4-2).
Rookie right-hander Yusuke Nomura (4-3) allowed three runs in eight innings. Nomura gave up eight hits but struck out nine without issuing a walk. His RBI double made it 3-0 in the sixth.
Kam Mickolio nailed down his second straight save opportunity.
Tigers 2, Marines 1
At Koshien Stadium, Craig Brazell singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Hanshin avoided drawing with Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte for the second straight night. Light-hitting catcher Akihito Fujii homered for the first time in a year, and Brazell dribbled a one-out single through the infield after going hitless in eight straight at-bats.
Veteran Marines outfielder Saburo Omura, who attended high school at Osaka’s PL Gakuen, played in his 1,500th game.
Buffaloes 4, Dragons 4
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi’s Ryosuke Hirata returned to action for the first time since May 19 and drove in a pair of runs as the Dragons played Orix to a nine-inning tie.
Out of action due to slight back trouble, Hirata’s second-inning sacrifice fly opened the scoring. His sixth-inning RBI single brought Central League-leading Chunichi to within a run.
Hawks 2, BayStars 2
At Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kitakyushu Stadium, Brandon Mann allowed no runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings for Yokohama. Fukuoka Softbank, however, tied it in the eighth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Yuichi Honda and Seiichi Uchikawa and the game ended in a tie.
The BayStars were without veteran outfielder Alex Ramirez, who felt discomfort in his left adductor muscle. He is expected to return to the lineup at Seibu Dome on June 2, where the designated hitter rule will be in force. New Hawks import Wily Mo Pena broke an 0-for-35 skid with a fourth-inning single.