NAGOYA – Kazuyoshi Tatsunami hit a pair of RBI doubles to improve his average to a league-high .351 as the front-running Chunichi Dragons came from behind to edge the second-place Yomiuri Giants 4-3 on Monday night.
Tatsunami hit the team’s first of three straight run-scoring doubles off Kimiyasu Kudo (7-4) in the fourth inning at Nagoya Dome, after Tuffy Rhodes homered off Kenshin Kawakami to give Yomiuri a 2-0 lead through the third.
Rhodes has now hit 30 homers for the fourth straight year.
Kawakami (9-6) pitched seven strong innings to lift Chunichi to its fourth victory in as many games against Yomiuri. Hitoki Iwase allowed the visitors to come within a run in the ninth, but induced Yoshinobu Takahashi into a game-ending flyout for his 12th save.
Tigers 5, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Makoto Imaoka hit a solo shot to spark a four-run rally in eighth inning as Hanshin overcame seven scoreless innings to defeat the BayStars. Shinjiro Hiyama hit a two-run blast for his second homer in two nights.
Masashi Sajikihara (2-0) worked a hitless seventh for the win after Shinobu Fukuhara struck out eight batters through the sixth. Daisuke Miura (5-4) gave up four runs in 7 1/3 innings and could not help Yokohama from falling into last place.
Swallows 7, Carp 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Alex Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a team-high three RBIs to improve his average to .323 as Yakult beat Hiroshima for its first victory in six games. Ramirez singled in a run in the fifth inning and hit a two-run double in the seventh.
Shugo Fujii (2-5), who underwent surgery on his left elbow last May, allowed solo shots to Greg LaRocca and Andy Sheets but set the pace through the sixth for his second win in eight starts this season. Takaya Kawauchi (6-4) was tagged with the loss.
Fighters 3, Lions 2
At Sapporo Dome, Kuniyuki Kimoto hit a game-tying single and Fernando Seguignol followed with an RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as Hokkaido Nippon Ham came from two runs down to edge Seibu.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-6) held the home team to a run through seven frames, but got himself in trouble by issuing a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Tsutomu Ishimoto and yielding a single to Tomochika Tsuboi before Kimoto came to bat.
Hawks 10, BlueWave 1
At Fukuoka Dome, Tsuyoshi Wada (8-3) threw a one-hitter in a complete game effort that featured two walks while he received support from a 14-hit offense in Daiei’s victory in the opener of a three-game series against Orix.
Julio Zuleta hit a pair of two-run homers off Jason Phillips (2-6) and had five RBIs as Daiei built a 7-0 lead through the third. Nobuhiko Matsunaka also went deep twice, connecting for his 29th and 30th homers of the season.
Buffaloes 12, Marines 0
At Osaka Dome, Mario Valdez hit a grand slam for his second homer of the evening in a six-run eighth inning as the Kintetsu bats pounded out 15 hits to hammer Chiba Lotte. Valdez hit a two-run homer off Hiroyuki Kobayashi (5-5) in the seventh.
Kevin Beirne (5-5) carried a three-hit shutout through the seventh, and was ejected for using abusive language against the opposition. Benny Agbayani and Dan Serafini were also ejected for disorderly conduct.
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