CHIBA – The Marines’ Josh Whitesell broke a 2-2 tie with a fifth-inning grand slam and Shingo Ono (2-1) worked eight innings as Chiba Lotte snapped a three-game losing streak with a 12-2 demolition of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday.
Ono scattered seven hits and three walks, while striking out four as the second-place Marines avoided being swept at QVC Marine Field and trimmed the Fighters’ Pacific League lead to half a game.
“I went to the mound intent on throwing a complete game,” said Ono. “I wasn’t able to do that. Maybe next time. After Josh hit that great home run, I was even more motivated to get the job done.
“I may be in my 19th season, but no one wants to celebrate a pennant here more than I do.”
Buffaloes 1, Lions 1 (11)
At Jomo Shikishima Stadium, Seibu’s Hiroyuki Nakajima homered to lead off the bottom of the ninth off Orix closer Mamoru Kishida, and the two teams played to an 11-inning tie in Maebashi.
Bobby Scales singled home local hero Shunta Goto to open the scoring in the top of the eighth inning. Goto, the Buffaloes’ first-round draft pick in 2010 out of Maebashi Shogyo High School, was poised to be the hero, before Nakajima spoiled that scenario with his 11th homer of the season.
BayStars 5, Carp 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama rallied for three runs in the seventh inning in a come-from-behind victory over Hiroshima. Two hits and a Carp error set the table for Tatsuhiko Kinjo, who singled in one run, while two more scored on an error.
Kinjo drove in two more in the eighth. The Carp, however, threatened in the top of the ninth, when BayStars closer Shun Yamaguchi loaded the bases by hitting Tsubasa Aizawa in the head. Aizawa was taken from the field in an ambulance, Yamaguchi was ejected and Kazumasa Kikuchi came on to earn the save.
Swallows 5, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Orlando Roman (6-7) shut out Hanshin on four hits and a walk, while striking out seven for his second straight complete game victory as the Swallows avoided being swept in three games.
The Swallows scored twice against Jason Standridge (5-7) in the first, as Kazuhiro Hatakeyama doubled home Lastings Milledge and Ryosuke Morioka singled in Shingo Kawabata.
Dragons 3, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi overcame a one-run, ninth-inning deficit against tough Yomiuri lefty Tetsuya Yamaguchi to trim the Central League-leading Giants’ margin to 3½ games.
Yusuke Matsui gave the Dragons a third-inning lead with his first career homer, but the Giants came from behind on Yoshinobu Takahashi’s two-run fourth inning double. Playing without deactivated closer Hitoki Iwase, the Dragons brought out right-hander Daisuke Yamai to pitch the ninth and earn his first save since 2009.
Dragons deactivate Iwase
The Chunichi Dragons deactivated Japan’s career saves leader Hitoki Iwase on Thursday a day after he blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning in a 2-2 tie with the Yomiuri Giants.
The 37-year-old lefty, who has 28 saves this season and 341 in his career, has a 4.50 ERA in 12 innings since the start of June. During that period he is 0-2 with nine saves.
“His condition had been poor, but it’s not something I could talk about, so we just had to bite the bullet,” said Dragons manager Morimichi Takagi. “It could be that he has to go back to square one.”
Iwase set a pair of records last season, by appearing in 50 or more games for 13 straight seasons and by recording 30 or more saves seven years in a row. He has been held out of games this season because of discomfort in his left knee.
The Dragons, who entered Thursday’s game against the Giants 4½ games back of Central League-leading Yomiuri, have been without right-handed reliever and 2011 MVP Takuya Asao since May 14. Asao was later diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury.