The Yomiuri Giants might have had a celebration planned for Friday night, but the Yokohama BayStars had a game to win.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo hit a come-from-behind three-run home run in the sixth, and Takayuki Kajitani gave the BayStars some breathing room with a two-run shot in top of the ninth as Yokohama rallied for a 6-3 win over the Giants in front of 45,897 fans at Tokyo Dome.
The win pulled the BayStars within a half-game of the Chunichi Dragons for fourth place in the Central League. Yokohama is already assured of a 13th consecutive losing season, but still has a chance to finish as high as fourth in the standings for the first time since 2007.
The Giants had nothing to play for, but were at home for the first time since clinching the CL pennant on Sept. 26 in Yokohama. The team saluted their fans and showed off the CL pennant during a ceremony after the game.
Yomiuri pushed across the first run of the night on an error in right by Tatsuya Shimozono, who allowed a run to score when he failed to corral an easy fly ball hit by shortstop Hayato Sakamoto in the third inning. The Giants added to their lead on a solo home run from Leslie Anderson and an RBI double by Jose Lopez.
Shimozono came to the plate in the sixth with runners on second and third and one out. The outfielder atoned for his earlier error with an RBI single that made the score 3-1. Tsutsugo then took Yomiuri starter Tetsuya Utsumi deep to straightaway center to put the BayStars ahead 4-3 with his 21st home run of the season.
BayStars pinch hitters did the heavy lifting in the ninth. Yuliesky Gourriel hit in the pitcher’s spot and drew a walk to begin the inning. Kajitani replaced Hyuma Matsui later in the frame and hit a two-run homer to make the score 6-3.
Kazuki Mishima went five innings on the mound for the BayStars, allowing three runs on seven hits in the win. Mishima struck out five and walked three.
Utsumi was charged with the loss for Yomiuri after allowing four runs over six innings.
The BayStars have three games left, including one back in Tokyo Dome Saturday afternoon. The Giants have only dates against the BayStars and Hiroshima Carp remaining on their slate for 2014.
Lions defeat Eagles
Takeya Nakamura tied Seibu teammate Ernesto Mejia for the Pacific League home run lead with his 34th in the Lions’ 7-4 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Friday in the Pacific League.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5