NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Shuichi Murata hit a two-run homer off teenage rookie Shintaro Fujinami (10-5) in the fourth inning, and Hisayoshi Chono hit another in the fifth as the CL-leading Yomiuri Giants rallied from a run down to beat the second-place Hanshin Tigers 4-1 on Saturday.
Matt Murton opened the scoring with a second-inning solo homer off lefty Toshiya Sugiuchi (11-4), who allowed lasted seven innings to pick up the win at Koshien Stadium.
Dragons 4, Swallows 1
At Nagoya Dome, Daniel Cabrera (5-4) allowed a run on four hits over seven innings to earn his first victory since May 8 as Chunichi defeated Tokyo Yakult.
Ryosuke Hirata’s two-run homer highlighted the Dragons’ three-run first inning. Swallows cleanup hitter, who has 52 home runs, three shy of Japan’s single-season record, went 1-for4 with an RBI single.
Carp 5, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Bryan Bullington (8-9) allowed a run in seven innings and Brad Eldred homered twice, doubled and drove in three runs as Hiroshima snapped Yokohama’s three-game winning streak.
Eagles 7, Fighters 5
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Takero Okajima celebrated his 24th birthday with three hits, an RBI and a Tohoku Rakuten victory as the Pacific League leaders defeated Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Okajima broke the ice in the first inning against Fighters right-hander Bobby Keppel (2-4) after leading off with an infield single. A sacrifice and a groundout put Okajima at third, from where he scored on a throwing error by Nippon Ham shortstop Keiji Obiki.
The Eagles, who maintained their six-game lead over second-place Chiba Lotte, scored twice in the second. Andruw Jones kicked off a four-run third inning by drawing his PL-best 85th walk. Casey McGehee followed with his 24th homer. Hiroaki Shimauchi tripled in a run with two outs and scored on Okajima’s second hit.
“I’m incredibly happy to have three hits on my birthday,” said Okajima. “This is a first for me.”
Rakuten starter Wataru Karashima (2-2) kept the Fighters in check for most of the game before surrendering Shinya Tsuruoka’s three-run homer in the seventh. The lefty allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.
Keppel was charged with seven runs — six earned — in 2 2/3 innings.
Marines 3, Lions 0
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, top draft pick Takahiro Matsunaga threw five scoreless innings and five relievers completed a two-hit shutout as Chiba Lotte defeated Seibu to snap a three-game losing streak.
Tadahito Iguchi unlocked a scoreless tie with a solo homer in the sixth inning off Lions starter Ryoma Nogami (8-5), and Craig Brazell added a two-run, bases-loaded single in the eighth.
Hawks 12, Buffaloes 0
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, every member of Fukuoka Softbank’s starting lineup had a hit in a 20-hit hammering of Orix to back the second solid start by new acquisition Paul Oseguera (2-0).
Oseguera allowed five hits in six innings and four relievers completed a seven-hitter as the Hawks blanked the Buffaloes for the second straight game.