Veteran Hiroki Kokubo homered twice at his old stomping grounds in Tokyo Dome to lead the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks to a 6-2 win against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Tuesday.
Kokubo, who turns 40 in October and had called Tokyo Dome home from 2004 to 2006 with the Yomiuri Giants, opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with his first homer of the night off Rakuten rookie Takahiro Shiomi (1-4), sending a solo shot into the left-field bleachers.
Kokubo took Shiomi deep for a second time in the sixth with the Hawks down 2-1.
With no outs and runners on second and third after an infield single by Yuichi Honda and a double by Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Kokubo gave the Softbank fans in left another souvenir, drilling the first pitch he saw from Shiomi for his sixth round-tripper of the season.
Alex Cabrera joined in on the party, following Kokubo with a homer of his own to left, a tape-measure shot off reliever Shinichiro Koyama that gave the Hawks a three-run cushion.
Kokubo, who blasted 41 home runs with the Giants in 2004, also doubled and singled in his fourth and fifth at-bats, respectively.
Marines 1, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, Yuki Karakawa pitched a five-hit shutout for his seventh win as Chiba Lotte edged Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Karakawa (7-2) struck out eight in his third shutout of the year to beat Brian Wolfe (7-3), who held the Marines to one run in six-plus innings.
Buffaloes 8, Lions 6
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Mitsutaka Goto’s three-run triple keyed a five-run sixth that sent Orix past Seibu.
Takeya Nakamura had two homers and drove in five runs for the Lions.
Swallows 4, Giants 1
At Fukushima’s Koriyama Stadium, rookie Yuki Shichijo marked his first career start for first-place Tokyo Yakult with a win, holding Yomiuri to one run on three hits in seven innings, striking out seven.
The Swallows’ Lim Chang Yong walked two in the ninth but got out of the jam to collect his CL-leading 16th save.
Tigers 7, Carp 4
At Toyama’s Alpen Stadium, Craig Brazell launched a couple of longballs to spark Hanshin to a win over Hiroshima, its fourth victory in the last five games
BayStars 14, Dragons 5
At Yokohama Stadium, Yuta Naito hit a grand slam and had six RBIs to lead Yokohama’s 18-hit barrage against Chunichi.
Boston Red Sox right-hander Junichi Tazawa, who was optioned to Double-A Portland after undergoing Tommy John ligament-transplant surgery on his elbow, made a disastrous appearance in a minor league game on Monday.
Making his first start since his elbow surgery in April last year, he was charged with six runs after allowing three hits and two walks in just two-thirds an inning in a game against Double-A New Britain.