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Solo homers carry Tigers to triumph over BayStars

Hanshin's Messenger improves to 5-0

Kyodo

Masahiro Nakatani, Kosuke Fukudome and Takashi Toritani all hit solo homers to pace the Hanshin Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Friday.

Hanshin starter Randy Messenger (5-0), held the BayStars to one run on nine hits and a walk and struck out nine over seven innings in his 109-pitch outing.

Messenger leads the Central League in victories.

Toritani opened the scoring at Yokohama Stadium with an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning, sending Nakatani home from first base.

Yokohama’s Toshiro Miyazaki doubled home the game-tying run in the bottom of the fourth.

With two outs and the bases empty in the sixth, Nakatani belted his fourth home run this season into the left-field to make it 2-1.

Veterans Fukudome and Toritani sluggered their solo shots two innings later.

“There were many reliable batters behind me, so I went to bat just thinking I can’t get myself out,” said Nakatani, who was batting fifth in the lineup. “I’m glad I could hit a home run because Randy was working so hard.”

Tigers reliever Akifumi Takahashi tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, and closer Rafael Dolis, who took the mound in the ninth, survived a one-out scare when Sho Aranami almost tripled but was tagged out and earned his league-best 14th save.

Yokohama starter Shoichi Ino (1-3) took the loss after giving up four runs on nine hits, two walks and a hit batsman over eight innings.

Giants at Carp — ppd.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 15, Marines 1

At Tokyo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham blasted seven home runs, including two each by Brandon Laird and Taishi Ota, to tie the team’s single-game record and pound Chiba Lotte.

Fighters starter Hiroshi Urano (2-0) held the Marines to one run on four hits and a walk over seven innings.

Lions 11, Buffaloes 0

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Hideto Asamura went 3-for-4 with seven RBIs and Yusei Kikuchi (4-1) held Orix to three hits in six innings.

The Buffaloes suffered their fourth straight loss.