The Tokyo Yakult Swallows held a farewell game for outgoing star Shinya Miyamoto on Friday, with Wladimir Balentien providing the fireworks with his 60th home run.
Balentien, who last month rewrote Japan’s single-season home record of 55 that was first set in 1964, extended his mark with a game-tying, two-run shot off Randy Messenger in the sixth inning, although the Tigers wound up on the winning side, 3-2 in 12 innings at Jingu Stadium.
Miyamoto played the entire game at shortstop, where he began his career with the Swallows in 1995. He went 0-for-5 in the No. 2 spot. He finished his career with 2,133 hits, 24th all time in Japan.
The Tigers scored the winning run on a throwing error in the top of the 12th.
A crowd of 30,966 came out on a rainy night to see off Miyamoto.
Fighters 5, Hawks 4
At Sapporo Dome, Fukuoka Softbank continued to suffer the eighth-inning blues as Hokkaido Nippon Ham scored four times in the eighth to hand the Hawks their third straight defeat and clinch a playoff spot for second-place Chiba Lotte.
The Hawks entered the game having surrendered go-ahead solo homers in the eighth inning of each of their previous two games. Former big leaguer Ryota Igarashi loaded the bases with no outs and Shinya Kayama (3-1) allowed all three inherited runners to score while being charged with a run on his own.
Lions 6, Eagles 4
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, PL RBI leader Hideto Asamura had a three-run double to pace Seibu past Tohoku Rakuten, whose highlight was Andruw Jones’ 26th home run, a three-run shot in the bottom of the third.
The third-place Lions moved a full game ahead of the fourth-place Hawks in the battle for the PL’s final playoff spot.