FUKUOKA – Kenta Imamiya hit a pair of tie-breaking singles to lift the Pacific League’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks to a 2-1 interleague win over the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp on Wednesday.
Kenji Akashi had three hits, a walk and a stolen base in the Hawks’ leadoff spot to set the hosts up to complete their two-game sweep. The loss extended Hiroshima’s winless streak at Yafuoku Dome to nine games.
Akashi scored the game’s first run following a leadoff triple in the sixth. The speedster drove the ball to the wall, where Golden Glove center fielder Yoshihiro Maru caught up to it but failed to hang on.
Imamiya, who failed to bring Akashi home from second in the third inning, did better with his second chance. Imamiya lunged at a 2-1 pitch low and away and bounced it just over the glove of Carp starter Allen Kuri and into center field for a single.
“It had been a while since I’d had one (a hit) so it felt pretty good,” said Imamiya, who raised his average to .236. “Hiroshima is a team that really comes to compete, so to win two straight is really something.”
The Hawks got seven scoreless innings from side-arm lefty Kazuyuki Hoashi, who did not figure in the decision after the Carp scored on lefty Hideki Okajima in the seventh.
Jun Hirose reached on a one-out, pinch-hit double. Pinch runner Masato Akamatsu took third on a wild pitch that barely got away from catcher Toru Hosokawa, and scored on a sac fly from pinch hitter Eishin Soyogi to tie it.
The lead did not survive a stint by Carp reliever Katsuhiro Nagakawa in the bottom of the eighth. Akira Nakamura opened the inning with a pinch-hit single and Akashi singled as well. With runners on the corners, Imamiya singled home Nakamura, to make a winner out of Okajima (4-1).
Nagakawa (1-1) took the loss, while former Carp Dennis Sarfate struck out the side against the heart of the Hiroshima order in the ninth for his 15th save.
Dragons 4, Fighters 3
At Sapporo Dome, Hector Luna hit a three-run home run and Yohei Oshima broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth with an RBI single as Chunichi came from behind to earn a split of its series with Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Tigers 7, Buffaloes 6
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Takahiro Arai tied the game with a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth, and Mauro Gomez went deep with two outs in the ninth to break the tie as Hanshin earned a split of its series with Orix.
Giants 4, Lions 3
At Saitama’s Seibu Dome, Yomiuri Shuichi Murata overturned a two-run deficit in the ninth inning, when his two-out, bases-loaded fly fell in between a trio of Seibu fielders in shallow right field for a decisive three-run single.
Marines 9, Swallows 6
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Shohei Kato, whose 10th-inning, walk-off homer won it the night before, gave Lotte the lead for good with a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the first as the Marines swept Tokyo Yakult and won their third straight.