Kazuhiro Kiyohara homered for the second straight evening Friday and turned the game around as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Yakult Swallows 5-3 in the Central League and won three straight games for the first time this season.

News photoThe Hanshin bench looks
gloomy as the Tigers lose their third straight match on Friday.
The 6-5 loss to the Chunichi Dragons means the two teams
now share the lead in the Central League.

Kiyohara connected for a three-run homer off Masanori Ishikawa (2-1) with the Giants down 2-1 in the sixth inning at Jingu Stadium. Toshihisa Nishi reached on a double and Tomohiro Nioka drew a walk to put runners on second and third with two out, setting the stage for Kiyohara’s heroics.

Second-year southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi (2-1) gave up three runs, two earned, in six innings of work and received home run support from Kiyohara, Tuffy Rhodes and Hiroki Kokubo. Yuya Kubo got the final two outs for the save, sending the Swallows home with their fourth loss in a row.

Dragons 6, Tigers 5

Rookie right-hander Kenichi Nakata posted his first career win and came within three outs of a complete game as Chunichi overcame a ninth-inning scare to edge Hanshin at Nagoya Dome.

Nakata (1-1) pitched eight scoreless innings and was relieved after he allowed two of five runs in the ninth. Motonobu Tanishige hit a two-run homer off Taiyo Fujita (1-1) to give the Dragons a 4-0 cushion in the second, and Hirokazu Ibata made it 6-0 with a two-run double in the sixth.

Carp 0, BayStars 0 (12)

Hiroshima starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched a three-hitter over 10 innings and Yokohama starter Daisuke Miura struck out eight and yielded just five hits in nine innings as the game at Hiroshima Stadium was played to a scoreless draw.


Hawks 7, Marines 4

At Yahoo Dome, Nobuhiko Matsunaka delivered a tie-breaking RBI single in the fourth inning as Softbank came from behind to beat front-running Chiba Lotte.

Matsunaka broke a 1-1 tie with his single to left and Tony Batista connected for a three-run homer to extend the lead 5-1 in the fifth.

Benny Agbayani two-run shot in the sixth cut Lotte’s deficit to 5-3 but Softbank added two runs in the next two frames to put the game out of reach.

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings while striking out eight in earning the win. Koji Mise escaped a two out, two on jam in the eighth and worked 1 1/3 perfect innings for his seventh save.

Buffaloes 2, Lions 1

At Skymark Stadium, Cliff Brumbaugh hit a two-run, bases-loaded single off Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-2) in the sixth inning as Orix sent Seibu to its third straight defeat.

Jeremy Powell (2-2) struck out 14 batters in a duel with Matsuzaka and held the Lions to a run and six hits over the distance, allowing five walks. Matsuzaka, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth, gave up two runs on four hits in eight innings for the loss.

Fighters 6, Eagles 3

At Tokyo Dome, Kuniyuki Kimoto broke a tie with a three-run homer to straightaway center in the seventh inning, lifting Nippon Ham to its third win in a row with a victory over last-place Rakuten.

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