Fighters’ Keppel wins fifth consecutive start


Bobby Keppel threw seven solid innings as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters routed the Yomiuri Giants 7-1 on Tuesday in a rematch of the 2009 Japan Series.

Keppel (6-1) allowed one run on three hits — all singles — to win his fifth straight start. The former Minnesota Twins reliever walked two and struck out four in interleague play at Sapporo Dome.

The Fighters turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead in the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Tomohiro Nioka and Shinji Takahashi and Yoshio Itoi’s two-run double, all off Tetsuya Utsumi (5-1).

Makoto Kaneko added an RBI double and Hichori Morimoto had a two-run triple in the sixth.

Utsumi gave up six runs over 5 2/3 innings. Yomiuri made five errors, two by shortstop Hayato Sakamoto, and saw its winning streak end at three.

Tigers 4, Hawks 2 (10)

At Yahoo Dome, Takahiro Arai and Yamato Maeda hit sacrifice flies in the top of the 10th inning as Hanshin rallied past Fukuoka Softbank and moved into second place in the Central League.

With the score tied 2-2, Keiichi Hirano led off the 10th with a single, moved to third on Takashi Toritani’s single and scored on Arai’s sac fly off Tadashi Settsu (2-1).

Shinjiro Hiyama hit a pinch-hit tying single with two outs in the ninth. Hirotaka Egusa (1-0) threw a perfect ninth. Kyuji Fujikawa pitched the 10th to earn his 11th save.

Lions 1, Swallows 0

At Omiya Stadium, Takayuki Kishi and Brian Sikorski combined on a four-hit shutout as Saitama Seibu edged Tokyo Yakult for its third straight win.

Kishi (7-1) allowed three hits and struck out six over eight innings. Sikorski allowed a leadoff single to Norichika Aoki in the ninth but retired the next three batters for his 15th save.

Marines 4, Dragons 2

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 3-for-5 with two RBIs as Chiba Lotte ended Chunichi’s four-game winning streak.

Nishioka had RBI doubles, first in a three-run third and again in the eighth. Shunsuke Watanabe (4-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings for the win.

Buffaloes 11, Carp 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Shogo Akada hit a pair of two-run homers and Kazuki Kondo threw two-run ball over eight innings, leading Orix over Hiroshima.

BayStars 7, Eagles 5

At Kleenex Stadium, Shuichi Murata hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning and added a solo home run in the ninth as Yokohama beat Tohoku Rakuten.