OSAKA – Ryo Hijirisawa hit a two-run double in the ninth inning as Tohoku Rakuten came from behind to defeat the Orix Buffaloes 4-3 on Sunday, maintaining the Eagles’ lead in the Pacific League standings by virtue of winning percentage.
Eagles starter Yoshinao Kamata was sent to an early shower after surrendering three runs on six hits in three-plus innings, but five more pitchers kept the Buffaloes at bay. Fourth reliever Yuya Kubo (2-0) picked up the win after getting five outs through the eighth.
Rakuten got on the scoreboard first at Kyocera Dome Osaka, with catcher Motohiro Shima driving in a run in the second inning, but Orix tied the game in the bottom frame on Chris Marrero’s RBI single.
Marrero hit a two-run home run in the fourth to put Orix ahead at 3-1, but Japhet Amador got back a run for Rakuten with a solo shot in the seventh.
Buffaloes rookie pitcher Yuta Kuroki (5-2) took the mound in the top of the ninth and struck out the first two batters but walked the next two, before Hijirisawa doubled to center to score Shima and Eigoro Mogi.
Hiroyuki Fukuyama retired the side in the ninth to stop the Eagles’ losing skid at three.
“We were one out away from losing so the situation was very tough, but I thought positively and thought that I can be the hero if I could get a hit,” Hijirisawa said. “I knew when I hit the ball that we could for sure tie the score but I was glad to see Mogi also cross the plate.”
Hawks 4, Fighters 3
At Yafuoku Dome, Kenta Imamiya struck a two-run homer and Kenzo Kawashima hit a solo shot to help second-place Fukuoka SoftBank edge Hokkaido Nippon Ham for its third consecutive win.
SoftBank starter Shota Takeda (3-1) gave up two runs on two hits — both solo clouts — while striking out six over 5⅓ innings, while closer Dennis Sarfate got the last four outs for his 32nd save.
Lions 7, Marines 3
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Seibu erupted for six runs in the third and starter Brian Wolfe (8-2) held Chiba Lotte to two runs over five innings as the Lions won nine games in a row for the first time in six years.
Giants 5, BayStars 4
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Ryoji Aikawa hit a walk-off two-run double off Yokohama’s ace closer Yasuaki Yamasaki (2-2) in the bottom of the ninth to hand the BayStars their third straight defeat.
Dragons 7, Tigers 0
At Nagoya Dome, Nobumasa Fukuda went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to power Chunichi over Hanshin and win for the first time in eight games. Tomoya Yagi (1-0) and three relievers limited the Tigers to four hits combined.
Carp 14, Swallows 1
At Mazda Stadium, league-leading Hiroshima had an eight-run sixth and a five-run eighth, while Akitake Okada (9-4) and five relievers combined to hold bottom-place Tokyo Yakult to just one run on eight hits.
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