Adam Riggs homered twice to drive in four runs as the Yakult Swallows beat the Central League-winning Hanshin Tigers 8-4 Friday night at Jingu Stadium.
After the party of winning their first CL title in two years a day earlier, the Tigers blew a 4-1 lead when Yakult turned the game around with a five-run seventh inning.
Riggs hit a solo blast in the second and a three-run drive to the stands in left off Hirotaka Egusa (4-3) to key the seventh in Yakult’s 14-hit attack.
Hanshin catcher Ryo Asai hit a run-scoring double and Shinobu Fukuhara connected for an RBI single in a three-run fifth before Yakult rallied for seven runs in the next two innings en route to snapping a seven-game losing streak.
Yakult’s Norichika Aoki moved a step closer to his 200th hit of the season, going 2-for-4, and needs 10 hits to reach the mark.
Osamu Hamanaka hit a two-out triple in the second and Kentaro Sekimoto opened the scoring with a RBI double to right before Yakult tied the game 1-1 in the bottom half.
Dragons 3, Carp 2
At Nagoya Dome, Hitoki Iwase held a one-run lead in a perfect ninth to match a Japanese pro baseball record with his 45th save of the season as Chunichi beat Hiroshima.
Buffs give up on Mac
KOBE (Kyodo) Orix Buffaloes right-hander Mac Suzuki received notice on Friday that he will be left out of team’s plans for next season.
Suzuki, who dropped out of high school in Japan before traveling to the United States and posting a 16-31 record with four teams in the major leagues, was drafted in 2003 by Orix in the second round with no prior experience playing in Japan.
The 30-year-old Hyogo native was given no opportunities to pitch on the top team this season and has a 5-15 record with one save in 53 games in his first two seasons with Orix.
“We looked for his potential and really were expecting a lot from him, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to respond,” said Orix general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura.
Suzuki became the first Japanese major leaguer with no experience of playing in the own country’s professional leagues when he was with the Seattle Mariners in 1996.
Suzuki said he hopes to land a job back in the majors in the near future. “I’d like to try playing in the United States again, if I get the chance I’ll grab it,” Suzuki said.
Hillman inks deal
Nippon Ham Fighters manager Trey Hillman signed a one-year contract Friday to continue at the helm of the Pacific League club.
Hillman, who will be managing in his fourth year in Japanese pro baseball next season, will receive an unchanged annual salary of 80 million yen.
Hillman, whose team finished in a disappointing fifth place this season, said he feels a big responsibility to help his club improve its performance next season.
Ochiai set to return
NAGOYA (Kyodo) Chunichi Dragons club owner Bungo Shirai said Thursday he will request the return of manager Hiromitsu Ochiai to the Central League club for a third season.
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