Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Yoshio Itoi smacks go-ahead blast in eighth as Tigers down Giants

Kyodo

Yoshio Itoi capped a solid evening with an eighth-inning, tiebreaking home run that lifted the Hanshin Tigers to a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over the Yomiuri Giants on Thursday.

Itoi had twice singled with a runner in scoring position, but some solid defense by the Giants kept him from getting a first-inning RBI against right-hander Shun Yamaguchi. He singled again with one out in the sixth with the Tigers trailing 2-1 only for the inning to end with a double play before the visitors could tie it.

Yamaguchi did, however, surrender the tying run in the seventh, when Efren Navarro went deep. Yamaguchi, who allowed seven hits and three walks had been in hot water much of the evening, but allowed just two runs.

With one out in the eighth, Itoi teed off on a 2-0 fastball from Hirokazu Sawamura (1-5) and drove it into Tokyo Dome’s upper deck in straightaway right field for his 13th home run of the season.

Yomiuri left fielder Kazuma Okamoto and catcher Seiji Kobayashi denied the Tigers a run in the first on Itoi’s two-out single. Okamoto’s throw got there in plenty of time but was not on target and Kobayashi made a good tag at the plate to end the inning.

The hosts then jumped all over right-hander Takumi Akiyama. Some lax defending allowed Jorge Martinez to go to third on a leadoff double, while a catchable ball dropped in off the bat of Shinnosuke Shigenobu for an RBI single. With two outs, Giants veteran Shinnosuke Abe then singled in Yomiuri’s second run.

Kosuke Fukudome’s third-inning sacrifice fly for the Tigers made it a 2-1 game.

Swallows 11, BayStars 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada brought Tokyo Yakult from behind with his 27th home run, a three-run, third-inning blast in a rout of Yokohama.

Yuhei Takai doubled twice, homered and drove in four runs for the Swallows.

Carp 3, Dragons 2 (11)

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Ryuji Ichioka (3-5) pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the 11th inning, and Ryosuke Kikuchi singled in the winning run in the home half as Hiroshima edged Chunichi.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Buffaloes 7, Lions 6

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Brandon Dickson (3-5) allowed three runs over 6-1/3 innings and Masataka Yoshida’s grand slam capped a five-run fifth inning as Orix rallied past Seibu, which pulled to within a run in the eighth when Takeya Nakamura homered for the fifth straight game.

Eagles 10, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, 19-year-old Shoma Fujihira (2-3) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings and Zelous Wheeler homered, doubled and drove in five runs as Tohoku Rakuten hammered Hokkaido Nippon Ham.