Hitoshi Tamura and Tatsuhiko Kinjo belted two-run homers apiece and two other BayStars homered as Yokohama downed the Hanshin Tigers 9-6 at Koshien Stadium on Thursday.
The BayStars overcame a nightmare outing by starter Kenichi Wakatabe, who gave up four runs on six hits — including a leadoff homer by Makoto Imaoka — in one inning of work.
Trailing 4-3 in the third, Hirofumi Ogawa nailed a solo homer, his 100th career dinger, to tie the game. After two out, Takashi Manei — who went 3-for-4 — connected for a solo home run to give the BayStars the lead.
Yokohama scored two runs in the fourth with Tamura’s two-run homer and added two more with Kinjo’s two-run sixth-inning dinger.
Masahiro Tazaki (2-1), who pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Wakatabe, picked up the win, while rookie Takeharu Kato worked the ninth for his third save.
Hanshin’s Shinji Taninaka (3-2), who took over the mound from starter Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, gave up four runs on three hits over 2 2/3 innings in taking the loss.
Dragons 5, Giants 2
Masahiro Araki drilled a three-run, go-ahead homer off Yomiuri reliever Yukinaga Maeda (3-2) in the top of the ninth to lift Chunichi over Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome.
Lefty Hitoki Iwase picked up the win, pitching two-thirds of an inning in relief.
Dragons starter Masahiro Yamamoto pitched two-hit ball over seven innings before being pulled for a reliever.
With Chunichi up 2-0, the Giants scored a run in the second with Akira Eto’s 12th home run of the year, before tying the game in the eighth with Toshihisa Nishi’s pinch-hit solo clout.
‘Little’ Matsui rumors
NEW YORK (Kyodo) The New York Yankees are keen on acquiring Seibu Lions shortstop and switch hitter Kazuo “Little” Matsui as a possible replacement for third baseman Robin Ventura next season, the New York Times reported in its Wednesday edition.
In the article, the daily says Matsui “may be the best player in Japan. . . (who) will be a free agent this winter,” adding that “he is no relation to Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui” and has yet to decide on whether to remain in Japan or jump to the majors.
An unnamed major league scout, one of the many interested in obtaining the services of the seven-time All-Star and three-time stolen base leader in the Pacific League, was quoted as saying Matsui would make an easy transition to third baseman, being “strong, built like a fireplug.”
Matsui, in his 10th year with Seibu, has not batted below .300 since his third year in the pros and has made full game appearances every year since 1996. His career high came last season when he batted .332 with 193 hits, 36 homers, 87 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
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