In what had once been his personal house of horrors, Seibu’s Fumiya Nishiguchi won his 180th career game at Tokyo Dome on Friday.
The 39-year-old allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings and Hiroyuki Nakajima backed him with a pair of home runs as the Lions knocked the Yomiuri Giants out of first place in the Central League with a 6-4 victory. It was the Lions’ third straight win.
Nishiguchi (4-1), who was winless as a starter at the dome between August 1996 and June 24, 2007, allowed five hits and a walk. He struck out four. He went 1-for-3 at the plate and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth after the Giants tied it 1-1.
Nakajima then gave the veteran some breathing room with his third homer of the year.
“The way Nishiguchi went out and pitched every inning, we all wanted to do our part,” said Nakajima, who went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. “He looked so cool sliding into home, I was even more fired up.”
Hirokazu Sawamura (4-6) continued to be a hole in the Giants’ rotation. The CL’s 2011 rookie of the year got lit up in his third straight start, surrendering four runs in five innings. Since giving up five runs to the BayStars on May 9, the Giants have allowed that many runs only three times, all in games started by Sawamura.
The Lions took a one-run lead in the second but Yomiuri tied it in the bottom of the third after Hisayoshi Chono doubled with one out and scored on Hayato Sakamoto’s single.
Seibu, however, took command in a three-run fifth. Nishiguchi led off with a bloop single. A double by Yasuyuki Kataoka and a sac fly by captain Takumi Kuriyama made it 2-1 before Nakajima capped the rally.
The visitors appeared to put the game out of reach in a two-run seventh, when Nakajima homered to lead off the inning against Masumi Hoshino. Yomiuri pulled three back in the eighth but it was not enough.
Former Pacific League saves leader Micheal Nakamura worked a tense but effective 1-2-3 ninth against his former teammates for his first save since 2010.
Dragons 3, Eagles 2
At Nagoya Dome, Kazuhiro Wada snapped a four-game Chunichi losing streak with one swing of the bat, belting a two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth off Tohoku Rakuten reliever Koji Aoyama (1-2). Wada’s fourth homer of the year followed a double by Yohei Oshima.
The win pushed the Dragons into first place, a half-game ahead of Yomiuri.
Eagles starter Kelvin Jimenez held Chunichi to a run on two hits in seven innings. Darryl Rasner followed with a perfect eighth inning, but Aoyama lost his second straight appearance.
Swallows 13, Marines 4
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Wladimir Balentien homered and drove in three runs on a 3-for-3 night, helping Yakult rally in a rout of PL-leader Chiba Lotte to move one game over .500 for the first time since May 25.
Balentien, who was activated earlier in the day, led off the second with a blast to center and put his team in the driver’s seat with a two-run, go-ahead single in a five-run third, featuring Shinya Miyamoto’s three-run shot.
Fighters 4, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Brian Wolfe (4-4) pitched six scoreless innings, Micah Hoffpauir and Kensuke Tanaka both hit solo drives and Hokkaido Nippon Ham downed Yokohama to move a season-high 10 games above .500.
The BayStars only managed Alex Ramirez’s RBI single in the ninth and fell to their third straight defeat.
Hawks 1, Carp 1 (8)
Tigers 3, Buffaloes 1