SENDAI – Tomoaki Egawa hit a two-run homer in the eighth and drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks overcame a six-run deficit on Wednesday to defeat the Pacific League-leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 11-10.
The win pushed the Hawks into second place, a half-game ahead of the Chiba Lotte Marines.
“We really didn’t give up,” Egawa said. “But (as far as the pennant race goes) we’re just looking at each game as it comes.”
Trailing 8-2 in the seventh, Egawa singled with no outs to help set the table as Yuichi Honda and pinch hitter Wily Mo Pena each singled in a run. Kenta Imamiya’s sacrifice fly completed the three-run inning.
Egawa’s homer in the eighth cut the Eagles’ lead to 8-7 and the Hawks went to the bank against Rakuten’s bullpen in the ninth.
With two outs and runners on the corners, Seiichi Uchikawa singled off lefty Kohei Hasebe (1-1) to tie it. Egawa’s walk put the Hawks in front and Honda singled in two runs that became big when the Eagles knocked out current closer Ryota Igarashi in a two-run ninth.
Brian Falkenborg came in and got two outs with the bases loaded to earn his 10th save.
The Eagles jumped out in front on a three-run homer by Andruw Jones, who also doubled in a pair of runs in the ninth.
Buffaloes 7, Marines 6
At QVC Marine Field, Orix overcame a big first inning from Chiba Lotte to come from behind for its third straight win. Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Keiichi Hirano singled in a run, while Ryo Adachi and Lee Dae-ho drew bases-loaded walks to put the Buffaloes in front.
Former Marine Naotaka Takehara put the game out of reach by capping the five-run inning with a two-run double in his old home park.
Fighters 4, Lions 2
At Seibu Dome, Takahiro Imanami squeezed home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and Yang Dai-kang drove in an insurance run with an RBI single as Hokkaido Nippon Ham came from behind to defeat Seibu.
The Lions jumped in front on Yasuyuki Kataoka’s two-run double in the third, but the Fighters’ Kenji Sato singled in a run in the fourth and the visitors tied it on a passed ball in the eighth.
Dragons 3, Giants 2
At Nagoya Dome, Masahiko Morino broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning, when he led off with his 16th home run off reliever Hirokazu Sawamura (4-10) as Chunichi defeated league-leading Yomiuri.
Chunichi lefty Hitoki Iwase got his 36th save for the Dragons. His 382 saves surpassed Kazuhiro Sasaki’s combined total of 381 from his time in Japan and the majors.
Tigers 9, Carp 1
At Mazda Stadium, lefty Atsushi Nomi lost his shutout bid with two outs in the ninth, but Hanshin’s ace allowed just four hits over the distance to improve to 10-7 as he halted Hiroshima’s seven-game winning streak.
Takahiro Arai opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI double and a second run scored on the play thanks to a Carp error. Matt Murton went 4-for-5 with his 17th home run and three RBIs for the Tigers.
Swallows 5, BayStars 4
At Yokohama Stadium, Wladimir Balentien tied the game 3-3 in the fifth inning, when he extended his single-season home run record with his 58th, and put Tokyo Yakult ahead for good in the seventh with an RBI single in a win over Yokohama.
Balentien went 3-for-4 to raise his league-leading batting average to .338, and his two RBIs moved him to within three of league leader Tony Blanco, who did not take the field for the BayStars.