Tetsuto Yamada homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Tokyo Yakult Swallows to their fourth straight victory, a 4-2 win over the Yokohama BayStars.
Yamada opened the scoring in the first inning with his 35th home run, a two-run shot, and made it 3-1 in the third with a solo blast. Shingo Kawabata, who went 3-for-4 and scored on Yamada’s first homer, doubled in an insurance run in the fourth.
Before a rain-dampened Jingu Stadium crowd of 15,886, right-hander Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (11-8) made the most of the run support, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks over six innings.
“My teammates got me the early lead, so my job was to just focus on winning and making each pitch count,” said Ogawa, who struck out eight.
Four relievers kept the BayStars off the board the rest of the way, with Tony Barnette setting a franchise record with his 38th save as the Swallows closed in on their first Central League pennant since 2001.
The win clinched the Swallows a spot in the postseason and reduced their magic number to win the CL to five, and they will have a two-game series against the second-place Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome starting on Saturday. The Giants trail the Swallows by two games.
“I’m going to enjoy it (the save record) for the moment, take a day off and come back and try to beat the Giants,” Barnette said.
Yokohama lefty Kenta Ishida (2-5) allowed four runs in 3-2/3 innings to take the loss.
Giants 2, Carp 0
At Tokyo Dome, Hayato Sakamoto hit a two-run home run, Miles Mikolas (12-3) worked 7-1/3 innings and three relievers completed the five-hitter as Yomiuri handed Hiroshima its second straight shutout defeat.
Dragons 4, Tigers 2
At Nagoya Dome, Hanshin starter Takumi Akiyama (0-1) allowed four runs in 1-1/3 innings, while Chunichi’s Raul Valdes (5-8) was able to pitch out of trouble — allowing just two runs on nine hits, a walk and a hit batsman over 5-1/3 innings to earn the win.
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.