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Giants down Maeda, Carp

Kyodo

Hisayoshi Chono hit a two-run home run to highlight a four-run uprising during a sudden lapse for Kenta Maeda in the fifth inning and the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hiroshima Carp 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Central League-leading Yomiuri came from behind to beat second-place Hiroshima for the second night in a row and moved three games clear ahead of their rivals in the standings. The Giants evened the slate to 9-9 with one tie against Hiroshima this season.

Rainel Rosario, who hit for the cycle a day earlier, got Hiroshima on the scoreboard first with a one-out solo blast off Yuuki Koyama in the fourth.

With a fine mist falling steadily for most of the game and nearly turning into downpour in the decisive inning, the wheels came slipping off for Maeda at Jomo Shikishima Stadium in Maebashi.

The right-hander allowed a single to Jose Lopez and double to Shuichi Murata before striking out Yasuyuki Kataoka.

But both runners scored on the next play, when there appeared to be confusion on who would field pinch hitter Hirokazu Ibata’s sharp bounder into right. Maeda gave chase but gave up midstream as the ball rolled quickly into the outfield. Then with Ibata on first, Chono went deep to left to make it 4-1.

“I was really focused so I don’t really remember the at-bat, but I’m glad it was a home run” said Chono. “I’ve been outdoing myself. We want to come out and try to win tomorrow as well.”

The Carp, who stranded 13 runners, squandered several opportunities. They loaded the bases in each of the final three innings, but came up short with the decisive blow.

Hiroshima loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on a walk and a pair of singles against reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi, but the lefty struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Fortune revisited in the eighth when Hiroshima juiced the bases again, this time with no outs against Kentaro Nishimura. Rosario drew a leadoff walk, followed by back-to-back singles by Ryuhei Matsuyama and Eishin Soyogi.

But only one run scored during a double play on a Takahiro Iwamoto groundout to shortstop and Nishimura struck out pinch hitter Shogo Kimura to end the inning.

Scott Mathieson loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before escaping for his 22nd save.

Koyama (5-1) limited the damage to one run and three hits while striking out six and walking two. Maeda (10-8) yielded four runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.

BayStars 3, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Shun Yamaguchi (6-3) struck out 11 en route to his first career complete game as Yokohama came from behind to see off Minoru Iwata (9-7) and Hanshin. Hiroyuki Shirasaki had a tying RBI single in the second and Aarom Baldiris and Tatsuya Shimozono added a solo homer and RBI single in the fourth and fifth, respectively.

Swallows 7, Dragons 3

At Jingu Stadium, third-year righty Takeaki Tokuyama (1-1) allowed two runs and four hits over six effective innings en route to earning his first career win. Yuhei Takai went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Reliever Shinji Tajima (3-5) took the loss.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks 10, Buffaloes 3

At Yafuoku Dome, Tadashi Settsu (9-6) won the decision in a match-up of ace pitchers against Chihiro Kaneko (12-5) as PL leader Fukuoka Softbank romped over second-place Orix for its Japanese baseball-leading 70th victory of the season. Lee Dae-ho and Yuuki Yoshimura each homered in the 15-hit onslaught.

Eagles 3, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Ginji Akaminai went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the way as Tohoku Rakuten downed a wild Shohei Otani and Hokkaido Nippon Ham for its first four-game winning streak this season. Takahiro Shiomi (6-6) yielded one run in six innings for the win. Otani (10-4) issued eight walks and struck out nine over seven innings.

Marines 6, Lions 1

At Seibu Dome, Hideaki Wakui (6-11) threw one-run ball over eight innings against his former team, Shota Ishimine drove in three runs on 2-for-5 hitting and Chiba Lotte downed Seibu to win its third in a row. Takeya Nakamura hit his PL-leading 29th home run for the Lions.