SENDAI – The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles moved into a tie for the Pacific League lead on Thursday following an 8-4 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines, who started the day with a one-game advantage.
Cleanup hitter Andruw Jones hit two-run home runs in consecutive at-bats to power the Eagles, whose lone top-three finish was second place in 2009. Ginji Akaminai, batting in front of Jones, went 4-for-4 with a double, a triple an RBI and three runs scored.
Lotte right-hander Takuya Furuta (1-1) who came within one out of a no-hitter in his previous start, surrendered a two-out double in the first to Akaminai and Jones followed with his 12th homer of the year.
Eagles left-hander Takashi Kawai (2-0) allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks over 5 1/3 innings to earn the win.
Lions 7, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Seibu tattooed Orix right-hander Tomoyuki Kaida (1-5) for four runs on six hits over three innings.
The Lions’ Hideto Asamura went 4-for-5 and homered twice, giving him three homers and five runs batted over two nights.
Lions reliever Yosuke Okamoto (1-0) inherited a runner in the fourth inning, slammed the door on the Buffaloes and threw two scoreless innings to earn his first career win.
Fighters 4, Hawks 3
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, rookie right-hander Shohei Otani (2-0) scattered six hits and four walks to allow just a run over 5 2/3 and earn the victory as Hokkaido Nippon Ham won its third straight and moved into third place.
Fukuoka Softbank fell into fifth place following its fifth-straight defeat.
Keiji Obiki and Atsunori Inaba each drove in a run in the third inning for the Fighters, while Sho Nakata hit his PL-leading 21st home run in the eighth inning, a two-run shot.
Dragons 6, Carp 2
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi overturned a 2-1, eight-inning deficit when Masahiro Araki doubled in two runs. Matt Clark followed with an RBI double and Hector Luna capped the comeback with two-run home run.
Hiroshima right-hander Bryan Bullington (3-7) had allowed a run on three hits through the seventh, but ran into a buzz saw in the eighth after he issued a leadoff walk.
BayStars 7, Swallows 0
At Yokohama Stadium, third-year Yokohama right-hander Kota Suda (2-0) threw his first career shutout, despite putting two of the first three batters he faced on base. He gave up three hits, walked three and struck out five.
Tony Blanco’s two-run single in the first opened the scoring against right-hander Orlando Roman (2-3). Blanco went 3-for-4 with two doubles, while former Milwaukee Brewer Nyjer Morgan had a first-inning bunt single and homered for the third time in two nights.
Giants 1, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, veteran Yoshinobu Takahashi, batting fourth for the first time in two years, singled and scored the game’s only run on John Bowker’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly as CL-leading Yomiuri beat second-place Hanshin.
Ryosuke Miyaguni (3-3) worked around six hits and a walks over 6 2/3 innings to win his first game since April 23. Jason Standridge (4-6) took the loss. The right-hander surrendered seven hits and walked two in seven innings, while striking out 11.
Asia Series set
This year’s Asia Series club championship will be held in Taiwan from Nov. 15 to 20, Nippon Professional Baseball announced on Thursday.
Six teams in two, three-team groups will compete. This year’s Japan Series champion will be grouped with Australia’s champion and the Taiwan Series runnerup. The other group will consist of the Korea Series champion, the Taiwan Series champion and a team from China.
The event was first held in 2005, and was hosted at Tokyo Dome until 2008. After a two-year hiatus, it was held in Taiwan in 2011 and in South Korea in 2012.