Mitch Dening’s two-run home run put the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in front for good on Thursday in a 5-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants that prevented the hosts from being swept.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Dening came up with one out and a runner on first and went deep to center field off Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano (8-7) to put Yakult in front at Jingu Stadium with his fourth homer of the year.
“We lost the last two games, so we needed to win this one,” said the Australian who was signed this season out of independent ball. “I put good contact on the ball. I haven’t played well the last few days, so I thought I had a double, but because it’s Jingu it kept flying.”
Dening singled to open the eighth to set up an insurance run for the Swallows, who had surrendered the Central League’s top spot during the three-game series.
Sugano surrendered a pair of early runs, but halved Yakult lead in the fifth when he brought home Hirokazu Ibata with a triple. The Giants took the lead against Swallows ace Masanori Ishikawa (7-7) in the top of the sixth on back-to-back homers by Hayato Sakamoto and Hisayoshi Chono.
Sugano, however, could not hold the lead. The right-hander issued a one-out walk to Keiji Obiki before surrendering Dening’s homer. Sugano was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks in 5-1/3 innings. He struck out four.
Ishikawa worked six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks, while striking out five. A trio of relievers kept the Giants scoreless the rest of the way, although closer Tony Barnette had to work around back-to-back no-out singles in the ninth to record his 28th save.
Tigers 8, Carp 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Kosuke Fukudome got the ball rolling against rookie Kazuki Yabuta (1-2) with a two-run, first-inning homer and Hanshin rolled past the hostsin a “Peace Nighter” held on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
BayStars 2, Dragons 1
At Nagoya Dome, rookie Kenta Ishida (1-1) allowed a run in eight innings for his first career victory after Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s RBI single snapped a seventh-inning tie in Yokohama’s win over Chunichi.
Hawks 7, Fighters 1
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka Softbank ace Tadashi Settsu (6-5) had his second strong start after being called up from the farm.
The right-hander allowed a run on six hits but no walks, while striking out 10 in a win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
The victory was the PL leaders’ eighth straight and pushed them 11-1/2 games in front of the second-place Fighters.
Lions 6, Eagles 4
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Ryota Wakiya’s two-out RBI single snapped a sixth-inning tie, and center fielder Aoi Inomoto misplayed the ball, allowing a second run to score on his error as Seibu won consecutive games for the first time in a month.
Marines 9, Buffaloes 8
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Ikuhiro Kiyota’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly provided the winning margin as Chiba Lotte outlasted Orix.
For the Marines, Kazuya Fukuura’s pinch-hit single broke a tie in the bottom of the seventh. Orix’sYoshio Itoi tied it in the eighth with a solo homer.