Sumitani bashes go-ahead homer for Lions


Ginjiro Sumitani hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning as the Seibu Lions edged the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Seibu won its third straight in interleague play and returned to .500 for the season.

The Swallows took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, which featured an RBI single by Wladimir Balentien, and Masanori Ishikawa kept his shutout alive until Hiroyuki Nakajima teed off the left-hander with a game-tying two-run blast in the sixth at Seibu Dome.

After Hisashi Takayama went down on a called third strike to start off the bottom of the seventh, Sumitani lofted the first pitch — a slider — he saw from Ishikawa (3-2) into the seats in left to give the Lions the lead.

“That felt good. This is the first time I’ve done something like this, so I am especially happy,” said Sumitani. “I struck out in my second at-bat against him (Ishikawa), so I was just trying to get on base and create a chance.”

Takayuki Kishi (2-1) yielded two unearned runs in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. Atsushi Okamoto worked the ninth for his sixth save.

“I was doing my best to be aggressive against the hitters. I was really flying out there,” said Kishi, who threw 124 pitches. “I’ve been throwing too many pitches each week, so I need to conserve my energy as much as possible.”

Fighters 1, Carp 0 (11)

At Sapporo Dome, Atsunori Inaba played hero with a walk-off single with two outs in the 11th to give Hokkaido Nippon Ham a win over Hiroshima, which lost its third in a row.

Closer Hisashi Takeda (1-0) got the win after two scoreless innings. Carp reliever Dennis Sarfate (1-1) took the loss.

Hiroshima starter Kan Otake left after just 1⅓ innings due to an injury after being hit with a batted ball.

Giants 2, Marines 0

At QVC Marine Field, Tetsuya Utsumi threw a four-hitter in his first shutout of the season, posting his CL-leading sixth win as Yomiuri snapped a four-game skid with a win over Chiba Lotte.

Utsumi (6-1) struck out 10, walked three and stymied the Marines batters with his nasty breaking ball. Hisayoshi Chono and Kenji Yano hit sacrifice flies in the first and sixth, both off Yuki Karakawa (4-2).

Dragons 5, Buffaloes 1

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hirokazu Ibata went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Takehiro Donoue homered to put the icing on the cake in the ninth inning as Chunichi downed Orix.

Kazuki Yoshimi (4-1) pitched one-run ball over seven strong innings, painting the edge of the strike zone. He struck out four and walked none.

Yuki Nishi (4-2) took the loss.

Eagles 3, Tigers 2 (10)

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Fuminori Yokogawa had a game-winning single in the 10th as Tohoku Rakuten beat Hanshin.

With one out, Yokogawa singled deep to left off Daiki Enokida (1-1) to drive home pinch runner Wataru Nishimura from second. Koji Aoyama (1-1) won in relief.

Hawks 6, BayStars 5

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, pinch hitter Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit a game-tying, two-run single with two outs in the eighth and substitute catcher Hidenori Tanoue followed with a go-ahead single as Fukuoka Softbank rallied over Yokohama.

Takehito Kanazawa (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Hawks, who are undefeated in their last nine games, including two ties.