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.
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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