Hirata homers twice to lift Dragons to victory


Ryosuke Hirata hit a pair of homers and drove in four runs Thursday, lifting the Chunichi Dragons past the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in a 5-3 victory.

Hirata had a pinch-hit three-run blast off Katsuki Akagawa (1-1) to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead with two outs in the sixth inning and went deep again in his next at-bat with a solo shot in the eighth inning at Jingu Stadium.

Enyelbert Soto (5-0) gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings for the win and Japan’s all-time saves leader Hitoki Iwase retired three in the ninth for his 21st save of the year.

Masahiro Araki led off the game with a homer before Yakult rallied to go up 3-1 on a run-scoring single by Ryohei Kawamoto and Akagawa’s two-run single in the fourth.

Carp 11, BayStars 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, rookie Yuya Fukui threw his first complete game and Yoshihiro Maru went 3-for-5 with six RBIs, powering Hiroshima in a romp over last-place Yokohama.

Hiroshima banged out a season-high 17 hits. Yuki Yoshimura hit a leadoff homer in the eighth for Yokohama’s sole run. Brent Leach (1-4) was roughed up for six runs in 1⅓ innings.

Tigers 3, Giants 3 (10)


Hawks 1, Marines 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer off Hiroki Ueno (2-2) in the fifth inning and Shota Oba tossed 6⅔ shutout frames as Softbank swept Chiba Lotte in three games to move a season-high 33 games above .500.

Matsuda homered in his second consecutive game for a career-high 20th home run. Oba (6-0) won his fifth start in a row and four relievers completed the shutout, with Brain Falkenborg pitching the ninth for his 15th save. Lotte dropped into fourth place in the PL standings.

Eagles 2, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, third baseman Eiichi Koyano misplayed Kensuke Uchimura’s ground ball, allowing the tiebreaking run to score from third base with two outs in the eighth inning as Tohoku Rakuten completed a three-game sweep of Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Rakuten won its fifth in a row for the first time this season and moved into third place. Yu Darvish (15-4) struck out 15 in a complete-game effort but took the loss for Nippon Ham, which dropped its third straight after a four-game winning streak.

Buffaloes 2, Lions 0