Shuichi Murata hit a two-out, walk-off single in the ninth inning as the Yomiuri Giants snapped their five-game skid with a 3-2 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Wednesday in interleague action.
Yomiuri led in the third through a two-run shot from Itaru Hashimoto, who was playing in his third game of the season. Hashimoto, who went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice, led off the ninth with a single off Rakuten reliever Koji Aoyama (0-4), who was in his second inning of work.
Pinch runner Takahiro Suzuki was sacrificed to second by the Giants’ No. 3 hitter, Hayato Sakamoto. The Eagles pitched around Shinnosuke Abe with two outs, but Murata, who had been 0-for-3 in the game, singled to left with the speedy Suzuki just beating the throw home.
“When you allow the leadoff hitter to reach, it’s no wonder you allow a run,” Aoyama said.
The Eagles had a chance to seize the lead in the seventh, with the leadoff man on and no outs, but after a failed sacrifice attempt, the second hitter grounded into a double play.
“We swing away and hit into a double play. That’s the worst,” said Eagles manager Masataka Nashida.
Yomiuri starter Tetsuya Utsumi allowed a leadoff double to Louis Okoye in the sixth and Zealous Wheeler blasted a game-tying, two-run, two-out homer. Utsumi allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six in as many innings.
Rakuten starter Takashi Kawai also gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. The southpaw had no walks or strikeouts.
Giants reliever Scott Mathieson (5-0) pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts and three flyouts to earn the win.
Marines 6, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Kei Hosoya went 3-for-5 with four RBIs to help Chiba Lotte win its fourth straight. He hit a leadoff homer off Chunichi’s Shunta Wakamatsu (5-5) in the first and an RBI double in the second before putting the game to bed with a two-run single in the fifth.
Buffaloes 5, Tigers 1
At Koshien Stadium, Takahiro Okada hit a tie-breaking solo shot off Hanshin’s third reliever, Akifumi Takahashi (3-1), in the eighth before Ryoichi Adachi’s two-run double and Masahiro Nishino’s RBI triple slammed the brakes on Orix’s five-game skid.
Carp 6, Lions 2
At Mazda Stadium, Takahiro Arai hit a tie-breaking single in the seventh off Seibu reliever Shota Takekuma (3-2) before Ryuhei Matsuyama plated two with a triple and Seiya Suzuki drove in another with a single to complete the four-run inning. Hiroshima’s Kris Johnson (7-2) allowed two runs over seven innings to earn the win.
Fighters 3, BayStars 2 (10)
At Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars’ Yoshitomo Tsutsugo belted a two-out, game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but fellow Japan international slugger Sho Nakata put Hokkaido Nippon Ham ahead for good with a 10th-inning solo home run.
Hawks 6, Swallows 4