HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima Carp capitalized on a bullpen meltdown by the Yomiuri Giants on Monday in a 5-4 victory that was the sixth straight win for the Central League’s third-place club.
Chasing their first postseason appearance since they lost the 1991 Japan Series, the Carp broke the game open in a four-run eighth inning against Giants relief ace Tetsuya Yamaguchi (4-3) and fellow lefty Kyosuke Takagi.
The victory, before a full house at Mazda Stadium, moved the Carp 4½ games clear of the fourth-place Chunichi Dragons in the race for the CL’s final playoff spot. The winning streak is Hiroshima’s longest of the season.
“I was nervous before the game (from the playoff chase), but the support from the crowd gave me a boost,” said Tetsuya Ogikubo, who had an RBI single in Hiroshima’s decisive four-run outburst. “I think we’re all getting a little nervous (about the playoff chase), but the fans’ support is helping us get over our nerves.”
Yoshihiro Maru singled and scored from second after Kila Ka’aihue singled to right with one out off Yamaguchi. Giants right fielder Hisayoshi Chono charged the ground ball, but it got past him, allowing Maru to score and Ka’aihue to go to third. Brad Eldred chased Yamaguchi with an RBI single.
Takagi entered and walked two batters before surrendering Ogikubo’s RBI single and issuing a two-out, bases-loaded walk.
The Carp opened the scoring in the fourth on a bases-loaded single by 19-year-old rookie Seiya Suzuki off Giants rookie lefty Nobutaka Imura, who got the start in his pro debut and allowed just a run in five innings.
Chono tied it for the Giants with his 18th home run, a solo shot in the fifth, and Yomiuri rallied in the ninth for three runs, two unearned, off closer Kam Mickolio.
BayStars 3, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Daisuke Miura (9-12) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings and Tatsuhiko Kinjo lined a shot off pitcher Takuya Asao for a two-run, seventh-inning double as Yokohama came from behind to beat Chunichi.
Miura surrendered a pair of solo homers and struck out five without issuing a walk to earn his first win since Aug. 13.
Hawks 5, Fighters 2
At Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka Softbank overcame a two-run deficit to defeat Hokkaido Nippon Ham, win its third straight game and move to within a half-game of second-place Chiba Lotte.
The Hawks rallied for three decisive runs in the sixth after the first two batters were retired. Kenji Akashi’s RBI infield single broke the tie and Yuichi Honda singled in two more.