Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Yoshinobu Takahashi both hit three-run homers and Hiroki Kokubo chipped in with a solo blast as the first-place Yomiuri Giants routed the Chunichi Dragons 9-3 in the Central League on Thursday.

News photoKazuhiro Kiyohara of Yomiuri hits an RBI single to center in the eighth inning on Thursday at Tokyo Dome. The Giants beat the Chunichi Dragons 9-3.

Kiyohara delivered a shot off Masahiro Yamamoto (3-2) in the fourth to put the Giants ahead 3-1 as a crowd of 55,000 went into a frenzy at Tokyo Dome. Kiyohara added a single in the eighth to leave him just one shy of his 2,000th career hit.

The red-hot Giants won their eighth straight to retain first place two games ahead of Chunichi with a 28-22 record.

Veteran Masumi Kuwata left after just two innings of work due to lower back pain and Hiroshi Sato (1-0) pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Chunichi’s Kosuke Fukudome hit a towering shot to the bleachers in right field for the visitors in the second but the Dragons could only score two more runs in the eighth.

Swallows 5, Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, rookie Ryo Kawashima (4-2) tossed eight scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and Akinori Iwamura and Atsunori Inaba both homered as Yakult sent Hanshin to its fifth loss in six games.

Swallows right-hander Ryota Igarashi matched a Japanese fastest pitch record when he threw a 158-kph fastball in the ninth inning to tie Hideki Irabu’s mark set in 1993.

The Swallows grabbed a 3-0 lead through the fourth and Inaba capped the scoring for the visitors on a solo homer in the eighth. Hanshin’s Shinobu Fukuhara (7-3) gave up four runs on nine hits in seven innings and was tagged with the loss.

Carp 5, BayStars 4

At Onomichi Stadium, Koichi Ogata delivered his third first-inning leadoff homer this season and Greg Larocca hit his second drive in as many games as Hiroshima held off Yokohama for a close victory to snap a two-game losing skid.

Ogata’s 11th homer of the season off Scott Mullen (2-5) was also his 23rd career leadoff shot. The Carp took a 5-2 lead through the fifth before Tyrone Wood connected in the sixth for his 17th homer to close the deficit to two. Kenta Tamayama (1-0) got the win.

Wada powers Lions

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. (Kyodo) Kazuhiro Wada homered twice, doubled and drove in three runs to power the front-running Seibu Lions to a 4-2 triumph over the Orix BlueWave in the only Pacific League game on Thursday.

Wada hit a game-tying RBI double in the opening frame and broke the tie with a solo shot in the third at Seibu Dome.

Wada padded the lead with his second blast — his 19th — in the eighth.

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