Hiroki Kokubo hit his first homer of the season with a grand slam to help the Yomiuri Giants come from behind for a 6-4 victory over the Chunichi Dragons in the Central League on Friday.

News photoTigers shortstop Takashi Toritani leaps over Hitoshi Taneda of the Yokohama BayStars while relaying to first to complete a double play during the seventh inning of Friday’s game at Koshien Stadium. The teams drew 2-2 in 12 innings.

Kokubo, who sat out Thursday’s game due to a thumb injury, drove a full-count pitch from Kenshin Kawakami into the left-field stands at Tokyo Dome after Kazuhiro Kiyohara was hit in the back by a pitch to load the bases with none out in the third inning.

“It was a slider. It’s been a while since I hit one that perfect,” said Kokubo, whose homer came after Yoshinobu Takahashi pulled Yomiuri to within 2-1 on an RBI single in a five-run third.

Tuffy Rhodes hit a solo homer in the fifth to stretch the lead for the Giants, who languish at the bottom of the CL standings with a 2-5 record.

Koji Uehara (1-0) yielded eight hits but limited the damage to two runs in seven innings and came out the winner in a duel between Opening Day starters. Kawakami (1-1) gave up six runs in five innings.

Swallows 7, Carp 5

At Hiroshima Stadium, Atsuya Furuta, who snapped a career-worst 0-for-21 slump the previous night, had two hits for the second straight game and was one of three Yakult players with two RBIs in a triumph over the Carp.

BayStars 2, Tigers 2 (12)

At Koshien Stadium, Yokohama infielder Hitoshi Taneda hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, but neither side scored again leaving the teams tied after 12 innings.


Marines 8, Fighters 2

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Benny Agbayani hit a grand slam for the second straight game and Naoyuki Shimizu pitched 7 2/3 sharp innings Friday as Chiba Lotte beat Nippon Ham to move into a tie for first place with the Softbank Hawks in the PL standings.

Lotte went ahead in the first on a double-play grounder by Kazuya Fukuura and built a 6-0 lead after Agbayani, who drove in five runs on the night, hit a run-scoring double in the third and his blast off Carlos Mirabal in the fifth.

Shimizu (2-1) allowed two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts to set the tone for the game as Lotte won its third straight game.

Michihiro Ogsawara hit a leadoff shot in the sixth to homer for the third straight game and Eric Almonte added a solo drive in the eighth for Nippon Ham. Mirabal (0-3) was knocked out after allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Lions 8, Hawks 2

At Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka, Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1) pitched one-run ball over seven strong innings, yielding five hits in earning his first win of the season as Seibu snapped a two-game losing skid with a 13-hit attack.

Toru Hosokawa doubled twice to drive in four runs and went 3-for-5 as Seibu took a 6-0 lead through the third. Alex Cabrera hit a two-run drive for his league-leading fifth homer to extend the lead to 8-0 in the sixth.

Eagles 8, Buffaloes 2

At Osaka Dome, Koichi Isobe homered on a 3-for-5 night and Kevin Hodges combined with five relievers on a three-hitter as Rakuten ended its three-game losing streak after piling on 14 hits.

Yosuke Takasu, Luis Lopez and Kenshi Kawaguchi had RBI doubles as Rakuten stretched its lead with a four-run seventh. Matt Skrmetta (1-0) got the win in relief, while Jeremy Powell (1-2) was tagged for the loss after giving up seven runs in 6 1/3 innings.

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