The Hiroshima Carp may still have fond feelings for Kan Otake, but in the middle of a pennant race it’s every man for himself.
The Carp batted around during a six-run sixth inning that knocked Otake out of the game and helped Hiroshima rally to a 7-2 win over the CL-leading Yomiuri Giants in front of a crowd of 45,132 on Sunday afternoon at Tokyo Dome.
“Seems like everybody started to get locked in there after seeing him a few times,” said Carp outfielder Brad Eldred. “We just needed a few hits to get some guys on base and we got a handful of big hits in a row off some relievers, which is good.”
Hiroshima trailed 2-0 entering the sixth. Shota Dobayashi got the Carp going with a one-out solo homer, and Eldred tied the game with an RBI single. Hiroshima took the lead on Kosuke Tanaka’s tiebreaking single and got some breathing room courtesy of a two-run single by Eishin Soyogi and an RBI single by Tsubasa Aizawa.
The Carp got a little more insurance in the ninth when Giants reliever Yuki Egarashi balked in a run.
“We really came back big today,” Tanaka said. “The mood on the bench changed after Dobayashi’s home run. I just wanted to keep the rally going.”
Dobayashi finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI. Aizawa also had a pair of hits and an RBI, while Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi was 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
Fukui (2-1) threw seven innings of two-run ball to notch his second win in as many starts. He allowed five hits, struck out one, walked two and hit a batter.
The Carp entered the game in third place in the Central League standings, 3 1/2 games behind the Kyojin.
“We didn’t want to fall back further, and I’d like to thank our fans for their support and I hope we can keep winning,” Tanaka said.
Otake (7-5) took the loss for Yomiuri. He was charged with four runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Otake also fell to 1-1 against Hiroshima, where he played for 11 seasons before signing with Yomiuri this year.
“It’s a guy these guys probably all know and are friends with,” Eldred said. “Once you’re on the baseball field, it’s competition. You’re out there trying to do your best no matter what. We faced him once already, earlier this year, as well. It’s not anything new. Either way, it’s fun, satisfying to get a win.”
All four of the pitchers Yomiuri used gave up at least one run, including Takahiro Aoki, another former Carp player.
First-baseman Jose Lopez provided one of the few bright spots for the Giants with a two-run home run in the second, his 18th of the year. Cuban slugger Frederich Cepeda, who has struggled since coming to Japan in April, also had a productive day, going 2-for-2 while drawing a pair of walks.
Swallows rout Dragons
Wladimir Balentien’s two-homer salvo led a four-homer barrage as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 7-1 on Sunday at Jingu Stadium.
Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (5-3) allowed a run in seven innings and the last-place Swallows completed a three-game sweep of the Dragons.
BayStars at Tigers — ppd.
Hawks 3, Fighters 1
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham phenomenon Shohei Otani brought the heat, but league-leading Fukuoka Softbank had nine hits off him in seven innings to hand him the loss and move a season-high 20 games over .500.
Otani, who hit 161 kph on the speed gun, suffered his first loss since April.
Marines 8, Buffaloes 3
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Alfredo Despaigne led off a five-run fifth with his second homer since coming from Cuba and Chiba Lotte ace Yoshihisa Naruse (6-6) allowed three runs in 7-1/3 innings in a win over Orix to earn his first victory since June 23.
Lions 7, Eagles 2
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Ernesto Mejia hit two home runs and drove in three runs to back Tohoku Rakuten ace Takayuki Kishi (9-4), who scattered eight hits over seven scoreless innings.