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Messenger, Egoshi provide heroics for Tigers

Kyodo

Randy Messenger labored but gave his team seven innings of one-run ball as the Hanshin Tigers held off the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Rookie outfielder Taiga Egoshi hit a three-run drive in the second inning off lefty Yoshihisa Naruse (1-3) for his first career home run and helped Hanshin take two straight for the first time since winning three in a row from March 27-29.

“My first hit came at Koshien and I wanted to get my first home run at Koshien too,” said Egoshi, who connected on Naruse’s 0-1 slider on a drive to left-center. “I swung at the first pitch but was a little tight, so I relaxed and had a nice compact swing on the second pitch.”

Messenger (2-3) scattered five hits and walked two in a 126-pitch outing at Koshien Stadium. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama homered in his second straight game, but it wasn’t enough.

“I just battled myself today, made some good pitches when I needed to and that was the main thing,” said Messenger. “The team played good behind me, we scored when we needed to and I was able to keep us in the game.”

With the defeat, the Swallows slipped into a tie for first place with the Yomiuri Giants.

BayStars 1, Carp 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani broke a scoreless deadlock with his RBI single in the ninth inning to lift Yokohama past Hiroshima for its first five-game winning streak this season.

Yasutomo Kubo (1-2) yielded four hits over eight scoreless innings for the win.

Giants 4, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Toshiya Sugiuchi (3-0) struck out nine over seven sharp innings, Tatsuhiko Kinjo drove in two runs and Yomiuri beat Chunichi to move into a tie for first in the Central League.

The Dragons dropped their fourth in a row.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 3, Hawks 1

At Sapporo Dome, Jeremy Hermida had a three-run go-ahead double in the sixth inning off Kenji Otonari (3-1) as first-place Hokkaido Nippon Ham came from behind to down Fukuoka Softbank.

Luis Mendoza (2-3) gave up one run in six innings.

The Fighters improved to eight games above .500.

Marines 4, Lions 0

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Ikuhiro Kiyota and Luis Cruz homered in support of Ayumu Ishikawa (3-0), who allowed two hits in his first shutout of the season for Chiba Lotte’s whitewash of Seibu.

Ishikawa struck out eight and didn’t allow a runner to reach third base.

Eagles 9, Buffaloes 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Ginji Akaminai and Masayoshi Fukuda drove in four runs between them, lefty Takahiro Shiomi (1-1) tossed six scoreless innings and Tohoku Rakuten romped past Orix.

The Buffaloes scored four runs in the ninth, but it was too little, too late.