HIROSHIMA – Andruw Jones broke a ninth-inning tie on Saturday with his eighth home run of the year as the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Hiroshima Carp 2-1 in interleague action.
Former Milwaukee Brewer Casey McGehee unlocked a scoreless pitching duel in the seventh inning with his ninth homer, a solo shot off Hiroshima starter Bryan Bullington, who went eight innings.
The Carp, who had just one hit through seven innings off rookie Takahiro Norimoto (4-3), tied it in the bottom of the eighth. Eishin Soyogi doubled with one out for his second hit and scored on a pinch-hit single by Ryuhei Matsuyama.
Carp closer Kam Mickolio (1-2) came on in the top of the ninth, but was unable to get past Jones. With one out, Jones blasted a 3-1 pitch to left. Darryl Rasner retired the Carp in order in the ninth to notch his second save.
Norimoto allowed a run in eight innings on three hits. The right-hander walked a batter, while striking out five. Bullington, who didn’t allow a hit until McGehee opened the fifth with a single, gave up one run on four hits and two hits, while striking out eight.
Eagles center fielder Ryo Hijirisawa established a Pacific League record with 660 consecutive chances in the outfield. He had been tied at 658 with former Seibu Lions outfielder Tatsuya Ozeki. The Central League record is 817, set in the 1960s by the Hanshin Tigers’ Eiji Fujii.
Marines 9, BayStars 4
At Yokohama Stadium, Toshiaki Imae’s first-inning, two-run homer set the pace and Chiba Lotte ace Yoshihisa Naruse (5-1) survived giving up four runs in six innings.
Yokohama’s Tony Blanco led off the fifth by knocking his NPB-leading 21st home run clear out of the ballpark to initiate a BayStars comeback, but back-to-back RBI singles in the eighth-inning by Tadahito Iguchi and Imae iced the game.
Giants 3, Buffaloes 2
At Tokyo Dome, Yoshiyuki Kamei’ ninth-inning single plated two runs and lifted CL-leading Yomiuri to a sayonara victory over Orix, which entered the game as the interleague leader, spoiling a superb start by Buffaloes right-hander Chihiro Kaneko.
Hayato Sakamoto singled to open the ninth off closer Yoshihisa Hirano (1-1), who hit Shinnosuke Abe with a pitch. A sacrifice by Jose Lopez advanced both runners into scoring position, and Kamei bounced a single up the middle to win it.
Lions 2, Dragons 0
At Nagoya Dome, Seibu right-hander Takayuki Kishi (2-4) changed speeds effectively in a two-hitter for his first shutout this season. Kishi issued one walk and struck out nine.
A single and two walks loaded the bases in the top of the first inning against Chunichi starter Soma Yamauchi (2-3). The first run scored on a groundout by Jose Ortiz. Esteban German followed with an RBI infield single that completed the scoring. Chunichi’s Hector Luna went 0-for-3 as his 23-game hit streak ended.
Swallows 4, Hawks 3
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult tied the game 1-1 in the first inning on an RBI single by Wladimir Balentien, and took the lead in the second on Lastings Milledge’s fourth homer, a three-run shot off Fukuoka Softbank ace Tadashi Settsu (4-3).
Swallows rookie Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (5-1) allowed a run in seven innings for the win. Yakult’s second-round draft pick last autumn gave up five hits and walked a batter, while striking out four.
Tigers 2, Fighters 1
At Koshien Stadium, Matt Murton’s two-out, bases-loaded single in the ninth, plated the winning run as Hanshin scored twice in the inning against Hokkaido Nippon Ham closer Hisashi Takeda (1-1).
The Tigers came back when the leadoff man was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice, a pinch-hit single and a wild pitch tied it. After an intentional walk, Murton ended the contest, snapping a three-game winning streak by the defending PL champs, who are buried in last place.