Ryosuke Kikuchi and Jesus Guzman sparked a comeback as the Hiroshima Carp overturned a four-run deficit in a 5-4 victory over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Thursday night.
Trailing 4-3 in the eighth before a loud crowd of 30,136 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Guzman found the gap in right for a two-run opposite-field double off setup man Logan Ondrusek (4-2).
“This feels great, to win the game,” Guzman said. “To win the game, no matter how, that’s the most important thing.”
Kikuchi and Guzman, in his first season in Japan with the Carp, homered in a two-run fourth inning off Swallows ace Masanori Ishikawa to halve the deficit. Guzman’s home run was his first in the top flight. Ishikawa allowed two runs on four hits and a walk over six innings, but the Swallows’ normally reliable bullpen didn’t get the job done.
With two on and one out against Ondrusek in the eighth, Kikuchi’s fly to right was just far enough to score rookie Takayoshi Noma on a close play at the plate. After Yoshihiro Maru walked, Guzman, whose season has been disrupted by a strained left oblique muscle, lined a 1-1 pitch from Ondrusek into right-center to put the Carp in front.
The Carp nearly added another run in the inning, but Eishin Soyogi was denied a sacrifice fly when Swallows center fielder Wataru Hiyane gunned down pinch runner Naoki Nakahigashi at home.
With Ishikawa working him away, Guzman’s homer also went to the opposite field.
“I feel very good, because just when I came back I don’t get a base hit,” Guzman said. “But when you hit a homer, you can breath, and your confidence comes back.”
The Swallows opened the scoring in the first against Carp rookie Kazuki Yabuta. A leadoff single by Hiyane and a double by Shingo Kawabata allowed a run to score on a groundout. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama then went deep for his 20th homer of the year to make it 3-0.
Tetsuto Yamada made it 4-0 in the third, when he reached on a leadoff single, stole his 20th base of the year and scored on a single by Yuhei Takai.
Deunte Heath (1-4) retired all six batters he faced in relief of Yabuta to earn the win, while Daichi Osera and Shota Nakazaki kept the Swallows under wraps in the eighth and ninth.
Giants 2, BayStars 1
At Kyocera Dome, Takanori Suzuki, who came off the bench as a pinch runner and scored the game’s first run, delivered a sayonara RBI single in the ninth as Yomiuri beat Yokohama.
Buffaloes 7, Fighters 2
At Wakasa Stadium, Kyoto native Yoshio Itoi homered twice in a rare game in Kyoto and drove in five runs and rookie Sachiya Yamasaki (2-3) allowed two runs in six-plus innings in Orix’s win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Marines 2, Lions 0
At QVC Marine Field, Rhee Dae-eun (9-2) allowed two hits over seven innings to outduel Taiwan rookie Kuo Chun-lin (3-6), who allowed a run in six innings but took the loss for Seibu as Chiba Lotte won its sixth straight. The Lions have lost nine straight games for the first time in four years.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.