Makoto Imaoka and George Arias homered as the Hanshin Tigers scratched out a 3-3 tie against the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday night.

Hanshin starter Kyuji Fujikawa allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings and Marc Valdes pitched three shutout innings of relief as the Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak.

“We should’ve won that game,” said Hoshino. “Fujikawa and Valdes did their job tonight but we just left too many runners on base.”

Imaoka drove in the first run of the game with a solo shot off of Yomiuri starter Koji Uehara in the fourth inning.

“Uehara is a good pitcher and I knew that if I was going to get a hit it would have to be early in the count,” said Imaoka, who drove Uehara’s first pitch, a belt-high fastball, 10 rows into the left field bleachers. “And since there were two outs and no one on, I figured I might as swell swing for the fences.”

Arias added a 140-meter shot in the sixth that gave Hanshin a 2-0 lead, but the Giants quickly bounced back.

Takayuki Shimizu and Tomohiro Nioka led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles off of Fujikawa.

After Shinnosuke Abe hit a pop fly and Hideki Matsui struck out, Takayuki Saito sent Shimizu home with a double to the right-center field gap and Daisuke Motoki followed up with a two-run single that put the Giants in the lead.

“I’ve gotten timely hits two games in a row and I have a feeling it’s because (Shiro) Takegami is up there smiling down on me,” said Motoki,referring to the former Giants batting coach who died of liver cancer earlier this week.

The Tigers waited until nearly the last minute to tie the game. Arias doubled to lead off the ninth inning and advanced to third on Atsushi Kataoka’s sacrifice bunt.

Hoshino then sent in pinch-hitter Hiroshi Yagi, who drove the fourth pitch from Junichi Kawahara to deep right field, allowing Arias to tag up and even the score.

“Sure, a single or double would have been nice, but I was just focused on driving the ball and getting a sacrifice fly,” said Yagi. “We’re tired of losing and I just wanted to tie the game.”

The Tigers squandered two opportunities to put the game away as Arias struck out with the bases loaded to end the top of the 10th and 12th innings.

Dragons 4, BayStars 3 (11)

Chunichi took advantage of a fielding error with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning to score the game-winning run as it beat Yokohama at the Nagoya Dome.

Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, Yasuaki Taiho smashed a two-run homer, his first roundtripper of the year, to tie the game.

Swallows 11, Carp 5

Atsunori Inaba and Atsuya Furuta had three RBIs each to lead Yakult over Hiroshima at Hiroshima Stadium.


Lions 7, BlueWave 1

Alex Cabrera drilled his 41st homer of the year and starter Tetsuya Shiozaki combined with three relievers on a one-hitter as Seibu beat Orix for its fifth straight win at Green Stadium Kobe to slash its “magic number” to 25.

Shiozaki (6-5) gave up no hits over five innings and struck out five for his first win since June 8.

Buffaloes 5, Fighters 4

Kintetsu slugger Tuffy Rhodes homered in back-to-back at-bats to increase his home run total to 41 as the Buffaloes came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Nippon Ham at the Osaka Dome.

Trailing 4-0, Rhodes brought the Buffaloes within one run with a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run dinger in the sixth.

Hawks 4, Marines 2

Hiroki Kokubo wen 2-for-3 with two RBIs, hitting a go-ahead two-run clout in the eighth inning as Daiei beat Lotte at the Fukuoka Dome to snap their losing skid at five.

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