YOKOHAMA – Takahiro Arai, the Central League’s 2016 MVP, provided the off-the-bench heroics on Tuesday in the Hiroshima Carp’s 4-3 win over the Yokohama BayStars.
Moments after the BayStars had taken a 3-2 lead against the league leaders at Yokohama Stadium, reliever Spencer Patton (3-3) retired the first two batters he faced but couldn’t finish the job in the seventh inning.
After a flyout and a strikeout in the heart of the order, Patton walked hot-hitting Tomohiro Abe on four pitches and challenged catcher Tsubasa Aizawa.
Behind in the count, 1-2, the Carp No. 8 hitter hit an opposite-field flair down the right-field line that landed just fair before bouncing into the seats for a ground-rule double.
With the outfield playing shallow for a play at the plate should Aizawa try to score on a single, Arai’s fly to left center found no-man’s land, and Aizawa trotted home.
Jose Lopez opened the scoring off right-hander Yusuke Nomura (4-2) with a two-out solo homer in the first. The Carp tied it up in the second, when rookie lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi allowed an infield single and walked three batters.
After another infield single and a walk in the top of the third, Abe delivered a tiebreaking single, only for Lopez to drive in Toshihiko Kuramoto with an infield single.
Both Nomura and Hamaguchi went six innings.
In the sixth, Yokohama took its second lead of the game on a long homer to center by Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
The BayStars then turned the game over to Patton, who let it game get away with two outs.
Nomura got the win after allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out four. A trio of relievers, Ren Nakata, Shota Nakazaki and Takeru Imamura, allowed just one runner to reach over the final three innings to close out the third-place BayStars.
Dragons 3, Tigers 1
At Hamamatsu Stadium, Alex Guerrero drove in all three Chunichi runs, delivering a sac fly, hitting his 21st home run and then getting hit with a pitch with the bases loaded in a win over Hanshin.
Giants 4, Swallows 3
At Yamagata’s Shogin Nisshin Stadium, Yomiuri’s Hisayoshi Chono had three hits, including a tiebreaking, seventh-inning home run, while Kazuto Taguchi (6-2) blanked Tokyo Yakult for 6-2/3 innings.
The Giants’ Scott Mathieson and Arquimedes Caminero each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Hawks 6, Fighters 0
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, rookie Shuta Ishikawa (3-2) allowed one hit and three walks over seven innings, while Yuki Yanagita, Nobuhiro Matsuda and Takuya Kai each homered off Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-6).
Two relievers completed Fukuoka SoftBank’s one-hit shutout of Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Shohei Otani pinch-hit for the Fighters in the eighth inning. The 2016 PL MVP struck out in his first at-bat since injuring his thigh running the bases on April 8.
Marines at Lions — ppd.
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