Tomoaki Kanemoto cracked a two-run homer in the eighth inning and Kei Igawa and Jeff Williams combined on a seven-hitter as the Hanshin Tigers narrowly beat the Yakult Swallows 5-4 in a Central League game on Thursday.
While the Swallows erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth highlighted by a three-run homer by Alex Ramirez to cut the deficit to 5-4, Hanshin reliever Williams worked the last 1-1/3 innings to rack up his fourth save of the season.
Yakult had been hoping for a win to celebrate their manager Tsutomu Wakamatsu’s 56th birthday.
Igawa (2-2), who held the Swallows only two hits in the first seven innings, suddenly deteriorated in the eighth and yielded the mound to Williams after two outs at Jingu Stadium.
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