Sakamoto grand slam powers Giants in rout


Hayato Sakamoto rallied his team with a grand slam and captain Shinnosuke Abe broke the game open with a three-run drive in the late going as the Yomiuri Giants pounded the Hiroshima Carp 8-1 to open a three-game series on Friday.

Dennis Houlton (3-0) kept the Carp bats off-balance, pitching one-run ball over eight sharp innings. The right-hander earned his third straight win since the start of the season, yielding six hits and walking just one batter at Mazda Stadium.

Sakamoto went 4-for-5 and launched a 1-1 pitch from lefty Yuichi Hisamoto (0-1) to overturn a 1-0 deficit for a 4-1 lead in the third. Takayuki Terauchi added an RBI single in the fifth and Abe put the frosting on the cake with his pinch-hit shot off reliever Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara in the eighth.

Yoshihiro Maru put the home team on the scoreboard for a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first.

BayStars 4, Dragons 1 (10)

Tony Blanco came through with a three-run homer off Daisuke Yamai in the bottom of 10th inning to lift DeNA past Chunichi with a walk-off victory to avoid a second straight defeat.

Closer Shun Yamaguchi (2-1), who blew the save in the previous night’s loss, threw a scoreless 10th for the win. Lefty reliever Toshiya Okada (1-1) was charged with the loss.

Tigers 7, Swallows 3 (12)

At Koshien Stadium, Kosuke Fukudome tied the game with a two-run homer and made an encore performance with a dramatic grand slam with two outs in the 12th inning as Hanshin battled its way to win the series opener against Yakult.

Matt Murton had an RBI triple and Fukudome tied it with his blast in the seventh to eventually force extra innings. Fukudome pounded a 1-2 fastball from Yuki Shichijo (0-1) just inside the left-field foul post to lift his team to its second walk-off of the season.


Lions 7, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, Esteban German turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a two-run single in the fourth inning, Takayuki Kishi allowed two runs over seven solid frames, and Seibu beat Nippon Ham for its fifth win in six games.

Kishi (1-3) scattered four hits, struck out eight and walked two. German went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Hideto Asamura drove in three runs, including an RBI single and two-run double. Masaru Nakamura (0-3) was tagged with four runs in six shaky innings.

Marines 3, Eagles 1

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Daichi Suzuki had a game-tying RBI triple and Shota Ishimine followed with a go-ahead single off Takahiro Norimoto (1-2) in the fifth inning as Lotte rallied past Rakuten to return to a .500 winning percentage.

Yoshihisa Naruse (2-0) limited the damage to one run in eight innings. He had five strikeouts and two walks. Naoya Masuda closed out the ninth for his fourth save.

Hawks 4, Orix 2

At Kyocera Dome, Bryan LaHair keyed a three-run first inning with a two-run double off Buffaloes starter Chihiro Kaneko (2-1), Seiichi Uchikawa went 3-for-4 with an RBI single, and Softbank held off Orix to return to .500 with its second win in a row.

Tadashi Settsu (3-1) pitched two-run ball over seven sharp innings, striking out seven with no walks. Brain Falkenborg shut things down in the ninth for his second save. Takahiro Okada hit a two-run homer in the second, but that was all she wrote for Orix.

Swallows lose Takai


Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Yuhei Takai was diagnosed with ruptured ligaments in his right knee on Friday, the team said.

It is likely that the 28-year-old Takai, who injured himself in a game on Wednesday, will have to undergo surgery, meaning his season is effectively over.

The club also said that infielder Shingo Kawabata, who has been working with the Swallows’ farm team while he recovers from a left ankle injury, will have bone fragments removed in an operation on Monday. The 25-year-old is likely to be sidelined for two months.

The lefty-hitting Takai batted .297 (11-for-37) with two homers in 13 games this season.