• Kyodo


Shuhei Takahashi blasted a game-turning grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning as the Chunichi Dragons overcame a five-run deficit to defeat the Hiroshima Carp 9-5 in the Central League on Thursday.

With one out, Takahashi connected on Ren Nakata’s 2-0 fastball to cap off the inning that saw Chunichi put together six hits and draw two walks at Nagoya Dome.

Issei Endo led the unlikely comeback with a one-out, RBI double with runners on the corners off reliever Oscar Nakaoshi. Nakata (0-1) replaced Nakaoshi and hit Dayan Viciedo to load the bases. He then issued back-to-back walks to his next two batters before Takahashi hit his slam.

“It was a miracle,” said Takahashi, who has a hit in each of his six games to open the season. “It was a chance but I just focused on swinging strong. The trajectory epitomized that.”

Yoshihiro Maru handed Hiroshima the lead with a one-out RBI triple off rookie Hiroto Fuku in the first inning. The left-hander loaded the bases with two outs in the second, and gave up two more runs on Ryosuke Kikuchi’s bloop single.

Kikuchi was at it again as his double drove in two runs in the fifth, this time off reliever Yuta Muto, but it all came in vain as the Carp relievers failed to preserve the lead.

Fuku allowed five runs on four hits, three walks and one hit batsman over 3-2/3 innings and struck out one, while Ryosuke Oguma earned the win by throwing two shutout innings.

Hiroshima starter Kris Johnson worked six shutout innings. He allowed four hits, three walks and hit a batter. He fanned seven. But the game turned on its head as soon as he left the game.

And the Dragons weren’t done as they stretched the lead in the eighth. Ricardo Nanita drove in two more runs on a two-out, bases-loaded single off Junpei Ono to leave both teams with three wins and three losses after six games.

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At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshiyuki Kamei hit a bases-loaded, two-run double off Yokohama reliever Motoharu Fukuchi (0-1) with two outs to break the tie in the 11th inning.

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