Left-hander Daiki Enokida threw one-run ball over 7 2/3 impressive innings, Matt Murton hit a two-run homer and drove in five runs, and the Hanshin Tigers trounced the rival Yomiuri Giants 8-1 to avoid a three-game sweep on Thursday night.
Takashi Toritani got things rolling offensively with an RBI triple, followed by a Kosuke Fukudome run-scoring single for a 2-0 lead in the first at Tokyo Dome.
Giants starter Hirokazu Sawamura (1-2) was chased in just three innings, the knockout punch coming on Murton’s blast deep to the stands in left with two outs in the third. Murton added an RBI double and a two-run double in the fifth and sixth, respectively.
Enokida (2-1) yielded six hits and struck out six while walking three and hitting two batters — deploying his fastball and slider to maximum effect. He escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam in the fourth and a two-on situation with none out in the seventh.
The Giants have been on fire since the start of the season, losing just three times in 17 games with two ties, but the Tigers brought out the sledgehammers to power past their rivals in a 12-hit attack on this night to improve to 8-8 with one tie.
Dragons 6, Swallows 3
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Daniel Cabrera threw one-run ball over six innings and got a boost by a Kazuhiro Wada go-ahead two-run drive in the sixth as Chunichi powered past Tokyo Yakult.
Dragons closer Hitoki Iwase pitched the ninth to notch his fourth save of the season and the 350th of his career, the most in Japanese baseball history.
Carp 6, BayStars 5
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima overcame a 5-3 deficit in a four-run ninth against closer Shun Yamaguchi (1-1), featuring Brad Elred’s two-out bases-loaded two-run single, to earn a sayonara win over Yokohama.
Reliever Hirofumi Ueno (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for the win.
Tony Blanco hit a two-run home run for the BayStars to open the scoring in the third before Hiroshima rallied.
Eagles 9, Hawks 2
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Manabu Mima limited the damage to two runs in 7 1/3 innings, Kazuya Fujita drove in three runs on 3-for-4 hitting, and Tohoku Rakuten walloped Fukuoka Softbank to avert its fifth consecutive loss.
Mima (2-1) scattered 11 hits and struck out five while walking two.
Andruw Jones capped a five-run frame with a three-run homer off rookie right-hander Nao Higashihama (0-1) to give Rakuten a 6-0 lead in the second.
Marines 5, Fighters 1
At Sapporo Dome, Yuki Karakawa allowed one run and three hits in seven effective innings, Daichi Suzuki went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple, and Lotte downed Nippon Ham to take the rubber of the three-game series.
Karakawa (1-2) gave up three hits, struck out two and walked three. Hiroshi Kisanuki (1-1) was tagged for four runs in five innings of the loss.
Lions 8, Buffaloes 6
At Omiya Stadium, Seibu prevailed in a seesaw game with four lead changes, keyed with a bases-loaded walk by Shogo Akiyama and Takumi Kuriyama’s two-run double in the four-run fifth as the hosts scraped by Orix.
Kuriyama went 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Lions starter Hideaki Wakui (3-0) got the win despite yielding five runs — one unearned — in 5 2/3 innings.
The Buffaloes’ Alessandro Maestri (1-1) took the loss after allowing six runs in four-plus innings.