NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Hanshin catcher Ryutaro Umeno had a three-hit game for the second day in a row, driving home three runs Friday to power the Tigers 8-5 over the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp for their third consecutive win.
Hiroshima had a 4-0 lead by the top of the fourth inning as Brad Eldred belted a solo homer and a two-run clout while up-and-coming Ryoma Nishikawa had an RBI triple — all off Randy Messenger at Koshien Stadium.
Umeno, usually quiet at the plate, hit an RBI single in the fourth to kick off the Tigers’ counterattack.
Two innings later, Fumiya Hojo and Yoshio Itoi hit RBI singles to pull Hanshin within one at 4-3.
The Tigers then erupted for five runs in a decisive seventh, including Umeno’s two-run triple that put the home team ahead and Fumihito Haraguchi’s first hit since April 20 — an RBI single to right that scored Umeno.
“My condition has been good since yesterday and I’ve been able to get good results, so I went to bat thinking I should be aggressive,” Umeno recalled of the one-out situation with runners on second and third.
“I think I got the RBI hit because of my swing on the first pitch (into a foul ball).”
Messenger gave up four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out eight in six innings and did not figure in the decision. Suguru Iwazaki (1-0) picked up his first win this year after tossing a scoreless seventh, while Rafael Dolis earned his 11th save.
Suffering its first loss in four games, Hiroshima’s lead over Hanshin in the standings shrank to one game.
Giants 3, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, Seiji Kobayashi squeezed home the winning run in the eighth as Yomiuri came from behind to hand Chunichi its fifth straight loss.
Miles Mikolas (4-1) held the Dragons to two runs, one of them earned, over seven innings.
BayStars 6, Swallows 1
At Yokohama Stadium, cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo hit a three-run home run and starter Shoichi Ino (1-2) scattered seven hits and struck out four over the distance as Yokohama pounded Tokyo Yakult.
Hawks 3, Marines 2
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Alfredo Despaigne hit a game-tying two-run homer and Seiji Uebayashi blasted a solo shot in the ninth to lift Fukuoka SoftBank over Chiba Lotte.
Kenichi Nakata (3-2) held the Marines to two runs on five hits over eight innings and Dennis Sarfate tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save to cap the Hawks’ fifth straight win.
Lions 7, Eagles 1
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Seibu snapped its losing skid at three games as slugger Takeya Nakamura hit a two-run shot in a four-run fourth and Yusei Kikuchi (3-1) allowed one run on two hits over seven innings against first-place Tohoku Rakuten.
Fighters 6, Buffaloes 2
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Sho Nakata belted a two-run homer as Hokkaido Nippon Ham opened with a three-run first inning and Hiroshi Urano (1-0) surrendered six hits over five-plus scoreless innings en route to the Fighters’ fourth win in a row.
Orix stranded 10 runners and fell to its third straight defeat.
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