Yoshihito Ishii’s seventh-inning pinch-hit single broke a 3-3 tie and helped extend the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants’ unbeaten streak to seven games.
Ishii, signed by Yomiuri after he was released last autumn by the Seibu Lions, singled home Takayuki Terauchi from second with two outs in the seventh and the Giants held on to beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4-3.
“I was really nervous, coming to bat in front of so many fans,” said the left-handed-hitting Ishii, who began his career with Yokohama in 1997. “My teammates created that scoring opportunity, and I just wanted to do my best.”
Rookie right-hander Seiji Tahara won his second game without a loss despite allowing Yakult to tie it in the top of the seventh.
Entering in relief of southpaw starter Tetsuya Utsumi with two outs and a runner on first, Tahara walked the first batter he faced before surrendering a game-tying RBI double to Kazuhiro Hatakeyama.
Kentaro Nishimura and Tetsuya Yamaguchi each supplied a 1-2-3 inning to close out the Swallows, with Yamaguchi earning his fifth save.
Swallows reliever Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi (2-5) took the loss after his teammates overcame a 3-0 deficit with the help of solo homers from Ryohei Kawamoto and 20-year-old rookie Tetsuto Yamada, who went deep for the first time in his career.
The victory increased the Giants’ lead over the second-place Chunichi Dragons to 4½games.
Carp 3, Tigers 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hiroshima halted a three-game losing streak with its sixth straight win over Hanshin. The Carp opened the scoring when Masato Akamatsu led off the game with a double and scored on a passed ball.
The visitors widened the lead on Brad Eldred’s two-run homer in the third. Carp right-hander Kan Otake (9-3) allowed six hits in six innings, and four relievers held Hanshin to just two hits over the final three frames to complete the shutout. The Tigers fell to 0-7 with one tie since they last won on Aug. 1
Lions 7, Fighters 1
At Seibu Dome, Seibu’s Chris Carter belted a three-run, first-inning home run and teammate Hiroyuki Nakajima’s two-out, bases-loaded double in the fourth tacked on three more runs as the Lions made mincemeat out of Pacific League-leading Nippon Ham.
Carter plated Nakajima in the fourth with a single for his fourth RBI of the game to give Lions right-hander Ryoma Nogami (5-3) all the run support he would need. Nogami allowed one run in seven innings.
Eagles 6, Hawks 3
Lions 7, Fighters 1