The Tokyo Yakult Swallows avoided losing two straight to the team they are chasing for the Central League’s final playoff spot, when they came from a run down to defeat the Hiroshima Carp 5-1 at Jingu Stadium on Wednesday.
Carp rookie Yusuke Nomura (9-7) entered the game with a league-leading 1.54 ERA but allowed three runs on eight hits and four walks in four innings. Third-year Swallows lefty Masato Nakazawa also struggled to keep runners off base, but allowed just one run over 4⅓ innings in his second start of the season.
Right-hander Kosuke Matsui (1-0) helped bail the Swallows out of a serious jam in the fifth. Leading by two with runners on second and third with one out, Matsui struck out slugger Shota Dobayashi. Yuichiro Mukae then grounded out to third.
Matsui retired both batters he faced to get the win, and his bullpen mates made the lead stand up as the fourth-place Swallows moved to within 2½ games of the third-place Carp.
The Carp drew first blood on a sacrifice fly by Masato Akamatsu. Soichiro Amaya drew a leadoff walk, was singled to second, sacrificed to third and came home when Amaya flied out to left.
The Swallows turned it around in a three-run fourth.
After back-to-back no-out singles and a one-out walk loaded the bases, Nomura jammed Tsuyoshi Ueda with a 1-2 slider on the hands. Ueda hit a flare just beyond the reach of second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi for a two-run single. Hiroyasu Tanaka turned on a high-inside pitch for an RBI double that made it 3-1.
The Swallows purchased some insurance in the seventh, when Kazuhiro Hatakeyama doubled to lead off against Dennis Sarfate and scored on Shingo Kawabata’s triple. Catcher Yuhei Nakamura brought Kawabata home from third with a squeeze.
Dragons 4, Giants 2
At Iwate Prefectural Stadium, Chunichi’s Tony Blanco homered twice and drove in three runs as the Dragons beat league-leading Yomiuri for the second straight night. Blanco’s two-run blast in the third was his first homer since July 14.
Lefty Enyelbert Soto (3-0) allowed an unearned run in 5⅓ innings to get the win for the second-place Dragons, who cut the Giants’ lead to five games. Giants right-hander Yuki Egarashi (0-1) allowed three runs, two earned, in the loss.
Tigers 2, BayStars 1
Lions 3, Fighters 1
At Sapporo Dome, Seibu came from a run down as Yusei Kikuchi (3-1) allowed a run in eight innings to win its second straight game over Hokkaido Nippon Ham. Shogo Akiyama led off the seventh with a double and scored the tying run on a throwing error. With one on, Takeya Nakamura broke the tie with his 21st home run.
Kikuchi allowed three hits, while walking one, hitting one batter and striking out three, while Hideaki Wakui pitched the ninth for his 18th save as the Pacific League leaders increased their lead to two games over the Fighters.
Marines 3, Eagles 2,
At QVC Marine Field, Tohoku Rakuten closer Koji Aoyama (3-4) blew a one-run, ninth-inning lead as Chiba Lotte won it with four singles off the right-hander. Pinch hitter Kazuya Fukuura tied it 2-2 with the second-straight, one-out single, and Yoshifumi Okada won it with a two-out walkoff single.
Rakuten’s Manabu Mima allowed one run in 7⅔ innings, while Marines starter Tomohisa Otani held the visitors to two runs over seven innings. Relievers Masaki Minami and Taiki Nakago (1-1) each threw a scoreless inning.
Buffaloes at Hawks — ppd.