Lions rally to beat Iwase, Dragons


Yoshihito Ishii singled in the go-ahead run to cap a three-run rally in the top of the ninth inning against Hitoki Iwase as the Seibu Lions beat the Chunichi Dragons 4-3 on Monday.

Iwase (0-1) was bidding to become the third pitcher in Japanese baseball history to reach 250 career saves, with Chunichi leading 3-1 at the start of the ninth at Nagoya Dome.

But Seibu loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of base hits and a walk against the lefty.

After Takumi Kuriyama popped out, Hisashi Takayama delivered a game-tying, two-run single. Ishii then followed with a single to left field.

Koji Onuma (1-0) won in relief. Brian Sikorski worked the ninth for his baseball-leading 20th save.

Tony Blanco hit a solo home run in the third to help Chunichi build an early 3-0 lead.

Dragons starter Yudai Kawai threw seven shutout innings before Tatsuyuki Uemoto pulled the Lions within 3-1 with a two-out solo homer in the eighth off Takuya Asao.

Marines 14, Swallows 2

At Jingu Stadium, Kim Tae Kyun hit a grand slam as part of an astounding 10 consecutive hit onslaught in a 10-run seventh inning as Chiba Lotte rallied over Yakult to snap a three-game losing skid.

Bill Murphy (5-0) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two. Kyohei Muranaka (3-5) was charged with five runs in 6 1/3 innings of the loss.

Trailing 2-1, Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a bloop single that dropped in front of diving left-fielder Yasushi Iihara, driving in two runners. Kim’s blast to left made it 8-2 and Saburo Omura and Tomoya Satozaki added a solo shot and two-run drive, respectively, in the big frame.

Fighters 13, BayStars 3

At Sagamihara Stadium, Bobby Keppel held Yokohama to three runs in seven innings, Shinya Tsuruoka homered and went 4-for-5 and Hokkaido Nippon Ham clobbered Yokohama in a 15-hit attack to win its second in a row.

Keppel (7-1) gave up six hits, struck out six and walked one. Nippon Ham rallied with four runs on five hits to go up 4-1 in the second and Keppel helped his own cause with an RBI single that made it 5-3 in the fourth.

Buffaloes 21, Carp 10

Giants 1, Eagles 0 (10)

Tigers 3, Hawks 3 (12)

Japan to host rivals

Kyodo News

Japan will play the United States and Taiwan in the Japan Cup international women’s softball tournament on Aug. 6-8 in Sendai, the Japan Softball Association said on Monday.

Japan’s 17-member squad, which will represent the nation at the women’s world championship being held on June 23-July 2 in Venezuela, will feature 15-year-old pitcher Nana Okamura — the youngest player ever to play for Japan.