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Strong start carries Carp past Swallows

Kyodo

Eishin Soyogi homered, tripled and doubled on Thursday to power the Hiroshima Carp to a 9-1 victory over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and keep his team’s slim chances of a Central League pennant alive.

Soyogi capped a four-run first inning at Jingu Stadium with a two-run triple, hit a leadoff solo homer in the third and doubled in a run in Hiroshima’s three-run sixth. The Carp, who have seven games left to play, trail the league-leading Yomiuri Giants by six games.

Soyogi went 3-for-4 and drew a walk in the eighth inning, when he needed just a single in his final in plate appearance to bat for the cycle.

Rookie Daichi Osera (10-7) allowed a run on five hits and a walk over seven innings, while striking out four.

For the Carp, another rookie, Seiya Suzuki, opened the game by belting his first career home run, and after a runner reached on an error, Yoshihiro Maru doubled to make it 2-0 Hiroshima. Suzuki and Ryosuke Kikuchi also hit RBI doubles in the sixth, while catcher Yoshiyuki Ishihara homered in the seventh.

Swallows ace Masanori Ishikawa (10-10) allowed four runs in five innings to take the loss.

Dragons 5, Giants 4

At Nagoya Dome, Ryosuke Hirata’s three-run, third-inning home run overturned a 2-1 deficit and Chunichi held on to defeat Yomiuri to keep the Giants’ magic number to clinch the pennant at two.

BayStars 5, Tigers 4

At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s 20th home run, an eighth-inning solo shot, broke a 4-4 tie as Yokohama overcame a four-run, first-inning deficit to defeat Hanshin.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Eagles 8, Hawks 7

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Tohoku Rakuten overturned a two-run lead in a four-run seventh inning, when former big leaguer Ryota Igarashi (1-3) issued five walks, four with the bases loaded, and held on to defeat Fukuoka Softbank.

Buffaloes 2, Lions 1

At Osak’s Kyocera Dome, Wily Mo Pena went 2-for-3 and drove in both of Orix’s runs as the Buffaloes came from behind to beat Seibu and move to within a half game of league-leading Softbank.

Fighters 9, Marines 2

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Sho Nakata hit a two-run, first-inning home run and Luis Mendoza (7-13) allowed two runs in seven innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham defeated Chiba Lotte to remain 5-1/2 games ahead of fourth-place Rakuten in the battle for the PL’s final playoff spot.