Hayato Sakamoto hit a walk-off RBI single as the Yomiuri Giants swept the three-game home stand against the first-place Hanshin Tigers with a 2-1 victory Thursday.
With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning at Tokyo Dome, Sakamoto’s base hit off Hanshin closer Oh Seung-hwan won it for the Giants, who closed within half a game of the Central League lead.
“The manager and the pitching coach sent me out there believing in me,” Oh said. “I feel terrible for not being able to finish the job.”
Tomoyuki Sugano (9-8) went the distance for Yomiuri to pick up his first win since July 24, striking out eight and scattering six hits, including Kosuke Fukudome’s solo shot in the fourth. Fukudome also hit a pair of doubles.
“We were out to win all three games here, but we took it one game at a time and things turned out the way we wanted to,” Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara said. “The games will start to carry more weight from here on.”
The Tigers wasted a strong outing from Shintaro Fujinami (10-6), who fanned 12 and threw 141 pitches before stepping down in the ninth. The third-year right-hander allowed seven hits, four walks and hit two batters.
BayStars 2, Swallows 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Yasuaki Yamasaki set a Nippon Professional Baseball rookie record by earning his 32nd save of the season as Yokohama edged Tokyo Yakult.
Dragons 5, Carp 2
At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi’s Yudai Ono (10-7) moved into a tie for the CL lead in wins by holding Hiroshima to one earned run on just two hits and two walks over eight innings.
Lions 15, Eagles 7
At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Prince Dome, Seibu scored a season-high 15 runs off Tohoku Rakuten to win its fourth in a row.
Hideto Asamura went 4-for-6 with two RBIs to lead the way for the Lions, who sent the Eagles to their fourth straight defeat.
Fighters 7, Marines 4
At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Yang Dai-kang cleared the bases with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the fourth as Hokkaido Nippon Ham won its fourth straight while dooming Chiba Lotte to its third loss in a row.
Hawks 6, Buffaloes 1
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Yuki Yanagita’s three-run home run, his 25th homer of the year, highlighted a five-run seventh for Fukuoka Softbank, which held Orix to just five hits.
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