Chono belts game-winning HR in 10th; Giants earn sweep over Tigers


Hisayoshi Chono homered to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning on Thursday, lifting the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants to a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over the Hanshin Tigers.

The win completed a three-game sweep at Tokyo Dome and dropped second-place Hanshin eight games off the pace.

Trailing 2-0, the Giants tied it with runs in the eighth and ninth off Tigers ace Atsushi Nomi. A pinch-hit double by Kenji Yano and an RBI single by Yoshiyuki Kamei put the defending Japan Series champs on the board. The hosts tied it after Shuichi Murata doubled to open the ninth, went to third on Yoshinobu Takahashi’s single and scored on Hayato Sakamoto’s sacrifice fly.

Closer Kentaro Nishimura (4-3) survived a one-out double in the top of the 10th and earned the win when Chono took right-hander Ryoma Matsuda (0-1) deep to open the home half of the inning.

Chono put a sweet swing on a high 1-0 fastball and lined it just over the wall in left for his 15th home run of the year.

The Tigers took the early lead against Giants right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura on Takahiro Arai’s fourth-inning RBI single. Matt Murton made it 2-0 in the sixth with his 13th home run.

BayStars 2, Carp 0

At Mazda Stadium, right-hander Kisho Kagami changed speeds effectively, holding Hiroshima to three hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings and two relievers completed Yokohama’s second straight shutout victory.

Dragons 7, Swallows 6 (10)

At Mazda Stadium, right-hander Kisho Kagami changed speeds effectively, holding Hiroshima to three At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult came back twice in the late innings before falling when Yohei Oshima manufactured a 10th-inning run and Chunichi completed a three-game sweep.

Oshima singled to open the 10th, stole second on the next pitch, went to third on a sacrifice and scored the decisive run on a ground out. Former CL MVP Takuya Asao worked the bottom of the 10th to earn his first save of the season.


Eagles 4, Buffaloes 2

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, right-hander Takahiro Norimoto (12-7) struck out 10 while allowing two runs in seven innings in a win over Orix as he set Tohoku Rakuten’s record for wins by a rookie.

The Eagles took a first-inning lead on an RBI single by Andruw Jones and a two-run homer by former Milwaukee Brewer Casey McGehee.

Hawks 5, Marines 1

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Kenji Akashi broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with a three-run homer as Fukuoka Softbank defeated second-place Chiba Lotte, dropping the Marines 5 1/2 games back of the Eagles.

Fighters 1, Lions 0

At Sapporo Dome, Brian Wolfe (6-5) allowed just four hits and three walks over 7 2/3 innings, and two relievers retired the final four batters as Hokkaido Nippon Ham shut out Seibu.

Eiichi Koyano’s RBI single in the fourth spoiled a solid effort from Lions right-hander Yosuke Okamoto (3-3) who suffered a complete-game loss in first start of the season.