Hayato Sakamoto brought the Yomiuri Giants from behind for the third time on Thursday night with a two-run, eighth-inning homer in a 10-7 interleague win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of eighth before 44,925 at Tokyo Dome, Itaru Hashimoto, who has hit everything thrown at him over the past two days, rifled a leadoff single for his fourth hit of the night. He would have had five, but his smash up the middle to open the sixth deflected off the pitcher’s glove and into the path of the Eagles’ shortstop.
After the ensuing sacrifice, Sakamoto, hitless in four trips, got all of a low inside fastball from Koji Aoyama (0-5) and drove it well into the stands in straight-away left to put the Giants in front. With two on, a pair of two-out grounders to short and a throwing error brought in two more runs.
Yomiuri starter Kan Otake got the game started on an awkward note. He twice issued walks that were followed by home runs, wasting three early runs by his teammates before making his exit with two outs in the third.
Louis Okoye drew a leadoff walk in the first and scored when Zelous Wheeler waited on a high, hanging slider and launched it out to left for his 12th home run of the season.
The Giants scored twice off right-hander Manabu Mima on four singles and an error in the bottom of the first to tie it. Otake survived a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second, and took the lead in the home half.
Catcher Seiji Kobayashi led off with a beauty of a bunt single, and Otake sacrificed him to second. Hashimoto, who singled and scored to open the Giants’ first, drilled a double to give the Kyojin a one-run lead.
But with one out in the third, Otake’s game crumbled. He walked Wheeler, before missing up and over the plate with an 0-1 fastball to Takero Okajima. The Eagles’ No. 5 hitter exploited Tokyo Dome’s shallow power alleys with a high fly to left that just cleared the wall for a home run.
After two more singles, Otake was gone, and Mima hit a smash back to the mound off reliever Kentaro Nishimura for an RBI infield single. Otake allowed five runs on five hits and three walks, striking out two.
Mima and rookie catcher Yuichi Adachi collaborated to give one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth, after Garret Jones singled to open the inning. A balk, a passed ball put runners on the corners with Jones scoring on a double play ground ball.
With one out in the fifth, Yasuhito Uchida made short work of another high fastball, from new Yomiuri pitcher Seiji Tahara, to make it 6-4.
The Giants got a run back in the bottom of the fifth off right-hander Hiroyuki Fukuhara on an RBI single by Jones and tied it against Kam Mickolio in the seventh. After a leadoff walk, pinch runner Takahiro Suzuki stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kobayashi.
Adachi made up for his earlier mistake in the top of the eighth by barreling up a straight 2-0 fastball from Scott Mathieson and driving it over the left-field wall for his first home run of the year and a one-run Eagles lead, before the Giants scored four in the bottom half.
Mathieson earned the win, improving to 6-0 after Hirokazu Sawamura recorded his 18th save.
Marines 3, Dragons 1
At Nagoya Dome, Kota Futaki (5-5) allowed a run in 5⅓ innings, four relievers finished the job and Daichi Suzuki delivered a tie-breaking, fifth-inning sacrifice fly as Chiba Lotte defeated Chunichi to win its fifth straight.
Carp 6, Lions 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yusuke Nomura (8-2) scattered six hits and four walks over six scoreless innings to lead the Central League in wins, while Ryosuke Kikuchi and Yoshihiro Maru each drove in two runs as CL-leading Hiroshima blanked Seibu.
Hawks 12, Swallows 3
At Jingu Stadium, Nao Higashihama (5-0) allowed a run on five hits over eight innings, while Nobuhiro Matsuda, Shinya Tsuruoka and Ryuma Kidokoro all hit two-run shots as Pacific League-leading Fukuoka SoftBank beat up last year’s CL champion Tokyo Yakult.
Buffaloes at Tigers — ppd.
Fighters at BayStars — ppd.