NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. - Matt Murton went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs to help the Hanshin Tigers recover from an early deficit and beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 10-8 on Friday night to claim their fourth straight win and keep the top spot in the Central League.
In front of 46,578 at Koshien Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada put the Swallows in front with a first-inning RBI single to left after Hanshin starter Shintaro Fujinami walked Wataru Hiyane and Shingo Kawabata.
Yuhei Takai doubled the lead when his single drove in Kawabata and Mitch Dening added a two-run double to give the Swallows a four-run cushion.
Hanshin’s Kazunari Tsuruoka sent home Murton to cut it to 4-1 in the bottom of the second, but Kawabata’s two-run RBI in the top of the fourth put Yakult back in control.
Murton’s two-run homer and a solo shot from Ryota Arai brought Koshien to life before a throwing error throw from Yamada moved Hanshin within one run in the bottom of the inning.
With the bases load in the top of the fifth, Tigers reliever Kazuya Takamiya walked Yuhei Nakamura as Yakult went 7-5 in front.
In the sixth, Kosuke Fukudome hit a two-run RBI off setup man Logan Ondrusek to tie the game.
Hanshin regained the lead in the eighth when Mauro Gomez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before a two-run single from Murton made it 10-7.
“Tonight it was a complete team effort, 10 runs on the board and 13 hits,” said Murton. “Everybody did a great job providing opportunities for each other and to be behind in the game and come back like we did … the bullpen did their job and it was a great win for the Tigers tonight.”
Giants 6, Dragons 3
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Shuichi Murata broke open a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning with a three-run homer as the Giants prevailed against Chunichi for their fourth straight win.
Alex Castellanos had an RBI in his first at-bat in Japan, helping Yomiuri take a 3-1 lead.
The Dragons lost their seventh game in a row for the first time in 13 years.
BayStars 10, Carp 4
At Yokohama Stadium, Jose Lopez hit his 16th homer of the season in the fourth for Yokohama, who snapped their losing skid at four games.
Hiroshima’s Kenta Maeda (8-7) had his shortest start of the season, giving up six runs on six hits in two innings.
Marines 6, Fighters 3
At Sapporo Dome, Shogo Nakamura pulled Chiba Lotte level at 3-3 with a solo shot in the fifth and Katsuya Kakunaka and Ikuhiro Kiyota added two runs in the seventh against Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
The Marines moved into third place after their first seven-game winning streak in two years.
Lotte starter Hideaki Wakui (8-7) gave up three runs over eight frames for the win.
Hawks 4, Lions 2
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Kenta Imamiya sealed victory for Fukuoka Softbank with a solo shot in the ninth inning, and Rick van den Hurk (5-0) pitched six runs of two-run ball to pick up the win.
Seibu lost its 10th straight.
Eagles 4, Buffaloes 3 (11)