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Matsuyama delivers as Carp hold off Dragons

Kyodo

Ryuhei Matsuyama had a one-out clutch tiebreaking RBI single and Eishin Soyogi added a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning as the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp beat Chunichi Dragons 3-2 in the opener of a three-game series on Friday.

Jumpei Shinoda (3-2) yielded one run and five hits in seven innings for the win in front of a crowd of 23,203 at Mazda Stadium. The left-hander struck out two and walked two. The Carp went 11 games above .500 to match a season high.

Jun Hirose drew a one-out walk off Dragons starter Toshiya Okada (1-5) and Tetsuya Kokubo singled to put runners at the corners, setting the stage for pinch hitter Matsuyama.

Reliever Daisuke Sobue took the mound, but Matsuyama singled to right for the lead and Naoki Nakahigashi drew a walk in a pinch-hit at-bat to load the bases before Soyogi hit a sac fly off Akifumi Takahashi, the third pitcher, to make it 3-1.

The Dragons pulled within one on pinch hitter Michihiro Ogasawara’s RBI single off closer Kam Mickolio in the ninth, but the big right-hander closed for his 11th save. Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi made a fine stabbing play to stop a sharply hit grounder by pinch hitter Anderson Hernandez with runners at first and second to end it.

The Dragons scored first on Ryosuke Hirata’s grounder in the fourth before Hiroshima tied it in the bottom half when Hirose hit an RBI single to center.

Giants 4, Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, Yasuyuki Kataoka rallied his team with a sixth-inning, game-tying RBI single and Hisayoshi Chono delivered a run-scoring single off lefty Atsushi Nomi (4-3) in the seventh for the go-ahead run as Yomiuri downed Hanshin. Kan Otake (5-1) threw one-run ball over six innings.

BayStars 5, Swallows 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani hit a go-ahead three-run homer off Ryohei Kiya (2-2) with one out in the fifth inning as the BayStars came from behind to beat Tokyo Yakult. Shoichi Ino (5-2) allowed three runs in six innings for the win.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Eagles 5, Marines 2

At QVC Marine Field, Andruw Jones broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning three-run blast and second-year right-hander Takahiro Norimoto limited the damage to two runs in six innings as Tohoku Rakuten defeated Chiba Lotte. Brain Falkenborg worked the ninth for his sixth save.

Lions 6, Hawks 4

At Kitakyushu Stadium, designated hitter Takeya Nakamura had a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning as Seibu rallied to beat Fukuoka Softbank. Takayuki Kishi, who threw a no-hitter in his previous start, gave up four runs in seven innings of a no-decision.

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 0

At Hotto Motto Field, Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-1) outdueled Chihiro Kaneko (2-3) with 7⅓ scoreless innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham snapped a three-game losing skid with a win over Orix. Yang Dai-kang had a two-run homer in the eighth.