With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, Hanshin’s George Arias drove in the game-ending run with a single down the third-base line, giving the Tigers a 3-2 “sayonara” win over the Yokohama BayStars at Koshien Stadium on Thursday.
Arias, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, also belted his 16th homer of the year in the first inning to give Hanshin a 2-0 lead. Osamu Hamanaka, the batter in front of Arias, homered for the game’s first run.
Arias’ sayonara hit came with the count 2-2 and the cleanup man battling nine pitches off Atsushi Kizuka (1-1).
With the Tigers taking an early 2-0 lead, Yokohama tried to fight back but could not produce any clutch hits.
The BayStars had runners on first and second in the top of the 10th with two outs, but Mike Gulan struck out to end the threat. The offense could not respond to Daisuke Miura’s superb outing — pitching nine innings while allowing just two runs.
Right hander Takehito Kanazawa (3-0) earned the win after pitching two innings, in which he fanned one and allowed one hit.
Yokohama is now 16 games behind the front-running Tigers, who are 10 games above .500.
Giants 7, Swallows 5
Veteran Akira Eto blasted a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the fifth and Hideki Matsui gave Yomiuri a security run with a solo shot as the Giants kept pace with first-place Hanshin with a win over Yakult at Jingu Stadium.
It was only Eto’s fourth home run as a pinch hitter in his 14-year career. Matsui sent one into the stands for the second straight night.
Korean hurler Cho Sung Min (2-0) relieved starter Kazuhiro Takeda, who lasted only 4 1/3 innings while giving up eight hits and three runs, and picked up the victory.
Alex Ramirez, who hit a sayonara homer Wednesday night for Yakult, had another homer in the second inning — his 12th of the year.
Yakult’s rookie southpaw Masanori Ishikawa (3-3) took the loss.
Matsuzaka off roster
TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. (Kyodo) Seibu Lions right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka has been taken off the 28-man active roster after complaining of a soreness in his elbow, the Pacific League club said Thursday.
Matsuzaka left the mound in the fifth inning Wednesday in Seibu’s 3-2 loss to the Daiei Hawks in Fukuoka and chief trainer Yasuo Tezuka suggested Thursday that the problem with his elbow may be more serious than previously thought.
Matsuzaka, who was making his first game appearance in 16 days, is scheduled to undergo a medical examination and join the club’s farm team until he fully recovers.
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