Osamu Hamanaka drilled a “sayonara” solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Hanshin Tigers put a halt to the Yomiuri Giants’ win streak at six with a 4-3 victory at Koshien Stadium on Wednesday.
Tied 3-3 in the ninth, Hamanaka, who hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh, homered into the left-field bleachers off Yomiuri reliever Kazuhiro Takeda (2-1) for the game winner.
Hanshin closer Marc Valdes pitched the ninth and retired the side for the win.
Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Akihiro Yano led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second base on an error. After one out, Makoto Imaoka nailed a double to bring home Yano for the game-tying run.
Dragons 1, Carp 0
Mid-season acquisition Martin Vargas combined with two relievers on a two-hitter as the right hander notched his first win in his first appearance by beating Hiroshima at the Nagoya Dome.
Vargas gave up one hit over 7 1/3 scoreless innings.
BayStars 5, Swallows 4
Domingo Guzman held Yakult to two runs over six innings and picked up his first win as Yokohama edged the Swallows at Yokohama Stadium.
Guzman (1-2) gave up nine hits and walked two in his eighth appearance.
Cabrera cracks two
Two of Seibu Lions’ three home runs came from the monster, but the one that closed the deal was from the little one known for his sacrifice bunts.
But give Tatsuya Ozeki a break — it was his 26th birthday.
“I’d be lying if I told you I was aiming for that one,” said Ozeki, who hit a three-run shot in the eighth to put away the Nippon Ham Fighters 9-3 at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.
The Lions scored eight of the nine runs on three homers, two from slugger Alex Cabrera, and continued to run away from their Pacific League rivals by becoming the first team in the league to reach 50 wins.
“I’ve never hit a home run on my birthday, ever,” said Ozeki, who leads the PL in sacrifice bunts with 33. Ozeki’s second homer of the year came on a 1-0 pitch off Nippon Ham reliever Tatsuhito Kato in the eighth with runners on first and second.
Cabrera backed Ozeki with two of his own to give him 27 — three shy of Kintetsu’s home run leader Tuffy Rhodes — for the year. Cabrera blasted a 126-meter grand slam off Fighters starter Itsuki Shoda (2-6) and a solo shot in the eighth for five RBIs.
“When I saw the ball, I knew it was gone,” said Cabrera, who belted his first grand slam in Japan. “I saw it go off the end of my bat, but I know I have power so I didn’t worry much. I don’t think I can catch Tuffy. He can hit 50 and I want my team, the Lions, to win the championship.”
The game moved first in the bottom of the second when Nippon Ham third baseman Takaya Hayashi put the home team on the board first with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in D.T. Cromer, who led the inning with a bloop double down the third-base line.
Even after Cabrera’s grand slam, Nippon Ham came right back in the bottom half, when Yukio Tanaka and Tatsuya Ide singled to fill first and second.
With two outs, leadoff hitter Kensuke Tanaka battled 11 pitches off Seibu’s Taiwanese right-hander Hsu Ming-Chie (3-5) before landing a triple off the right-field wall and cutting the deficit to 4-3.
But just when the Fighters thought they could switch the flow of the game, Ozeki connected on a 1-0 count for 113 meters.
Hsu won his second straight start. He gave up three runs on 11 hits. (Junji Noda)
Buffaloes 10, Hawks 4
Tuffy Rhodes went 3-for-5 and slugged his 30th homer of the year — a two-run dinger in the first inning — to lead Kintetsu over Daiei at the Fukuoka Dome.
BlueWave 1, Marines 0
At Chiba Marine Stadium, Ed Yarnall (5-9) limited Lotte to five hits over 7 1/3 innings for the win as Orix sent the Marines to their ninth shutout loss of the year.
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