Kazuyoshi Tatsunami went 3-for-3 and notched his 2,000th career hit with an RBI single in the eighth inning as the Chunichi Dragons defeated the Yomiuri Giants 4-2 at Tokyo Dome on Saturday.
The 1988 top draft pick for the Nagoya club, also a nine-time All-Star and a four-time Golden Glove award winner, became the 30th overall player and at age 33 and 320 days the fourth youngest in Japanese baseball history to reach the milestone.
With 1,997 hits coming into Saturday’s game, Tatsunami hit an RBI double in the first inning, ripped a double into right field in the sixth before connecting for an RBI single in the eighth inning for his 2,000th career hit.
“I owe the feat to (then Chunichi Dragons manager Senichi) Hoshino who let me start in the lineup from my rookie year, and I am grateful for the fact that I was able to play throughout 16 years without suffering any major injuries,” said Tatsunami, who received a bouquet of flowers in the eighth inning from Yomiuri first baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara — who went to the same PL Gakuen high school as Tatsunami.
Tigers 13, Swallows 7
Makoto Imaoka, George Arias and Atsushi Kataoka had three hits a piece and combined for seven RBIs as CL-leading Hanshin downed Yakult at Koshien Stadium.
The Tigers are 14 games ahead of the Dragons and the Giants, who share second place in the standings.
Carp 11, BayStars 4
At Yokohama Stadium, Koichi Ogata belted a grand slam to cap Hiroshima’s go-ahead five-run sixth as the Carp beat Yokohama to put a halt to its losing streak at four games.
Andy Sheets hit two home runs for the Carp.
Lions 2, Buffaloes 1
Seibu slugger Alex Cabrera drilled his PL-leading 26th home run of the year for the go-ahead run in the eighth as the Lions edged Kintetsu at Seibu Dome.
Tied 1-1 in the eighth, Cabrera deposited a Hisashi Iwakuma offering into the right-field bleachers to give Seibu the lead for good.
Iwakuma (9-5) struck out six and allowed two runs on 10 hits in going the distance on 129 pitches.
Seibu lefty Koji Mitsui (9-5) picked up the win, pitching two solid innings in relief of rookie starter Shuichiro Osada, who limited Kintetsu to one run over six innings. He gave up five hits and struck out five.
Kazuo Matsui put the lions on the board with a solo dinger — his 17th homer of the year — to lead off the first inning, but Orix tied the game in the third with Osamu Hoshino’s RBI single.
BlueWave 17, Fighters 2
Roosevelt Brown and Jose Ortiz had three hits and five RBIs each while Takeshi Yamasaki went 4-for-5 with four RBIs as Orix pounded out 19 hits to whip Nippon Ham at Nagoya Dome.
Brown and Ortiz each connected for three-run homers off Fighters starter Hiroyuki Sekine (4-2) in the BlueWave’ seven-run first inning.
In the second, Ortiz smacked a two-run homer as Orix added five more runs in the inning.
Up 12-2 in the sixth, Brown belted a two-run homer and Orix wrapped up its scoring with Yamasaki’s three-run shot in the eighth.
Hawks 4, Marines 3
Kazumi Saito (11-2) held Lotte to two runs over 7 2/3 innings for his PL-leading 11th win of the year as Daiei edged the Marines at Fukuoka Dome.
Lotte hurler Nathan Minchey (7-4) went the distance, allowing four runs on eight hits — including a solo homer to Nobuhiko Matsunaka in the eighth — in a losing effort.
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