OSAKA – Tomotaka Sakaguchi had a game-tying RBI single in the fifth inning and Wily Mo Pena delivered a two-run single with two outs the same frame as the Orix Buffaloes came from behind to beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 5-3 to resume the regular season on Monday.
The Pacific League-front-runners, who have a half-game edge on the second-place Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, won their Japanese baseball-leading 50th game as league play resumed following the All-Star break.
Ryoichi Adachi sparked the rally with a one-out triple and Sakaguchi followed with a single up the middle that tied it 3-3 at Kyocera Dome.
Yoshio Itoi, who drove in the opening run against his former team with a single in the third, doubled, and one out later Pena drove in runners from second and third with his base hit to left.
The Fighters grabbed a 3-2 lead, helped by a two-run Keiji Obiki single in a three-run fourth. Nippon Ham cut the deficit to one run on Takuya Hara’s one-out, solo shot in the bottom half.
Orix’s Brandon Dickson (7-7) surrendered three runs and six hits in five innings of the win. Four relievers held the Fighters scoreless the rest of the way with Yoshihisa Hirano notching his 27th save. Luis Mendoza (4-9) was roughed up for five runs in 4⅓ innings in taking the loss.
Hawks 4, Marines 3
At Yafuoku Dome, Akira Nakamura drove in two runs, including a tiebreaking RBI double off rookie Ayumu Ishikawa (6-5) in the sixth inning, as Fukuoka Softbank came from behind to snap a four-game winless skid with a victory over Orix. Jason Standridge (7-4) yielded three runs — two earned — in seven innings of the win.
Eagles 9, Lions 8
At Seibu Dome, Tetsuro Nishida came in as a substitute for Kazuo Matsui at shortstop and tied the game with a three-run homer in the eighth inning. Motohiro Shima had a go-ahead RBI grounder in the ninth inning as Tohoku Rakuten edged Seibu. Takashi Saito (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief for the win.
Tigers 3, Giants 0
At Koshien Stadium, Minoru Iwata (8-3) scattered five singles over eight scoreless innings as second-place Hanshin blanked CL leader Yomiuri for its second consecutive shutout. Rookie catcher Ryutaro Umeno had a two-run single in the second and another run scored on Hirokazu Sawamura’s (1-2) wild pitch in the eighth.
Swallows 3, Carp 2
At Jingu Stadium, 2013 Rookie of the Year Yasuhiro Ogawa (4-2) tossed seven scoreless innings on the way to winning his first decision since April 11 after his nearly three-month layoff from a broken right hand as Tokyo Yakult scrapped past Hiroshima. Brad Eldred’s two-run eight-inning homer — his Japanese baseball-leading 30th homer — wasn’t enough.