Tigers sweep Giants, take CL lead


Kentaro Sekimoto hit a pinch-hit, tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning as the Hanshin Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Yomiuri Giants with an 8-7 victory and moved into first place in the Central League on Sunday.

Takahiro Arai tied the game at 7-7 with a solo homer in the seventh before Sekimoto went deep to left-center off Tetsuya Yamaguchi (1-2) at Koshien Stadium.

Yomiuri put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth against Kyuji Fujikawa, but the hard-throwing closer struck out Ryota Wakiya and Michihiro Ogasawara to end the game and pick up his eighth save.

Hanshin won its fifth straight game and led the CL standings for the first time since April 1. Tomoyuki Kubota (2-1) won in relief.

Carp 4, Dragons 3

At Mazda Stadium, Akihiro Higashide singled in the game-ending run with one out in the ninth inning as Hiroshima downed Chunichi.

Pinch hitter Takuro Ishii reached on shortstop Masahiro Araki’s error to start the ninth and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a Masato Akamatsu single before Higashide’s base hit to center off Takuya Asao (1-2).

BayStars 4, Swallows 1


Eagles 3, Buffaloes 2

At Kleenex Stadium, Masahiro Tanaka limited the damage to one run in seven innings and Motohiro Shima had a tiebreaking RBI double as Tohoku Rakuten edged Orix to move into a tie for fourth in the PL.

Tanaka (4-2) scattered eight hits and walked none as Rakuten completed a three-game sweep. Tsuyoshi Kawagishi got the last four outs for his fifth save.

Marines 4, Hawks 2

At Yahoo Dome, Takashi Ogino had a tiebreaking single and Tadahito Iguchi added a run-scoring double in the fifth inning as Chiba Lotte held off Softbank to move back into first place.

Bill Murphy (1-0) pitched one-run ball over five innings, striking out seven with three walks and Hiroyuki Kobayashi picked up his sixth save.

Lions 4, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Tomoaki Sato and Dee Brown both hit two-run homers and Kazuyuki Hoashi threw 7 2/3 shutout innings as Seibu avoided a three-game sweep by Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Sato hit his first homer since July 27, 2008 off Masaru Takeda (1-4) for a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. Brown went deep off the lefty in the sixth. Sato was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base.

Hoashi (4-2) allowed six hits and struck out seven, while walking three.