FUKUOKA – Tohoku Rakuten’s Daisuke Kusano belted a seventh-inning grand slam, and right-hander Brandon Duckworth (1-1) worked 7 2/3 innings to earn his first victory in Japan, leading the Golden Eagles to a 6-2 win over the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks on Thursday.The 36-year-old Duckworth, who has 23 major league wins under his belt, kept the Hawks off balance through good movement and change of pace, allowing four hits, while striking out eight and walking none at Yahoo Dome.Lions 8, Buffaloes 1
At Seibu Dome, Hideto Asamura’s three-run double highlighted a seven-run sixth inning as Seibu came from behind to beat Orix.
Shogo Akiyama led off the inning with a single, scored the tying run on Esteban German’s bases-loaded walk and capped the rally with an RBI single.
Kazuhisa Makita (11-7) allowed a run on four hits. The submarine right-hander struck out four without issuing a walk.
Fighters 6, Marines 6 (9)
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Lotte’s Josh Whitesell drove in three runs as the Marines overcame a four-run deficit in a tie against Nippon Ham. The hosts loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth against Nippon Ham closer Hisashi Takeda, but the right-hander struck out Tomoya Satozaki to end it after 3 hours, 56 minutes.
Micah Hoffpauir homered twice and drove in three runs for the Fighters, tying the game 6-6 in the eighth with his 13th homer of the season. Hoffapauir was walked intentionally with the go-ahead runner on second base in the top of the ninth, and the Marines retired pinch-hitter Tomohiro Nioka to get out of the jam.
Giants 4, Carp 1
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri lefty Tetsuya Utsumi (13-6) held Hiroshima to a run in seven innings as the Giants beat the Carp and lowered their magic number to clinch the Central League pennant to eight.
Utsumi allowed five hits and two walks, while hitting a batter and striking out five as he moved into a tie for the league lead in wins with Kazuki Yoshimi of the Dragons and Kenta Maeda of the Carp.
Utsumi reached on a one-out infield single in the third and scored the game’s first run on Hayato Sakamoto’s single off Hiroshima starter Keisuke Imai (2-7).
Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe gave his pitcher some breathing room in the fifth, when he plated Sakamoto with a two-run homer. Back-to-back doubles by Shuichi Murata and pinch hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi in the eighth completed the scoring.
“As for my form, it wasn’t very good tonight, but Abe pulled me along,” Utsumi said. “We’ve been getting one good game after another from the team’s young pitchers. I didn’t want to be the weak link.”
The Carp’s run came in the sixth on Brad Eldred’s seventh homer of the season.
Tigers 4, Swallows 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Jason Standridge (7-11) scattered nine hits and a walk over seven innings.
The Tigers turned three double plays and scored the go-ahead run in the sixth, when Tokyo Yakult second baseman Hiroyasu Tanaka fumbled a chance to get an inning-ending double play, allowing a run to score from third.
Hanshin completed the scoring in the eighth on straight hits, Tomoaki Kanemoto’s pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly. Kyuji Fujimoto worked the ninth for his 23rd save.
Dragons 6, BayStars 6 (10)
At Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama’s Sho Aranami tied the game at 6-6 as the BayStars overcame a five-run deficit, and Chunichi blew a chance to break the tie in the seventh as the clubs played to a tie.
Right-handed reliever Kazumasa Kikuchi allowed three runs in the seventh, but Masahiro Araki was caught stealing, and Masahiko Morino made the third out with Chunichi runners on the corners.