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Batista delivers go-ahead sacrifice fly to carry Carp past BayStars

Hiroshima reduces magic number to one

Kyodo

Xavier Batista hit a bases-loaded RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to lift the Hiroshima Carp 5-4 over the Yokohama BayStars in a seesaw game Thursday.

The Carp trimmed their magic number to claim their second straight Central League pennant to one.

Hiroshima got on the scoreboard first in the second inning when cleanup hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama struck a solo shot and Batista followed up with an RBI single one out later before 32,324 at Mazda Stadium.

The BayStars, in fourth place and seeking to make it into the Climax Series by finishing in the top three, answered an inning later with a game-tying, two-run double by Jose Lopez and an RBI sacrifice fly by Toshiro Miyazaki.

The CL defending champion got even in the bottom frame as Matsuyama drove in his second run and Batista put the home team ahead again with a solo shot in the fourth.

Three innings later, BayStar Tatsuhiro Shibata made it 4-4 with a one-out sacrifice fly after Toshihiko Kuramoto led off the seventh with a triple.

Yokohama could not capitalize on a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the eighth, as second reliever Takeru Imamura (2-4) pitched out of the jam with a groundout, strikeout and a lineout and went on to pick up the win.

After the game, Carp players and spectators remained in the stadium and watched on the giant monitor how the game between the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants played out as second-place Hanshin’s defeat would have ensured Hiroshima’s pennant.

Tigers 2, Giants 2 (12)

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin took an early lead as rookie Yusuke Oyama drove in two runs in the first, but Yomiuri’s Daikan Yoh hit an RBI single in the eighth and Hisayoshi Chono drove home a run in the next inning.

Dragons 2, Swallows 1 (10)

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Chunichi squeaked past Tokyo Yakult after on Swallows closer Ryo Akiyoshi’s wild pitch with one out and runners on second and third in the top of the 10th.

PACIFIC LEAGUEHawks 7, Buffaloes 4

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Alfredo Despaigne went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, including a PL-high 32nd homer, to power league-leading Fukuoka SoftBank past Orix.

With the win, the Hawks reduced their magic number to clinch the pennant to one.

SoftBank Closer Dennis Sarfate pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 51st save.

Lions 2, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Kobo Park Miyagi, Yusei Kikuchi (15-6) struck out 11 while giving up one unearned run on four hits and two walks over eight innings as Seibu topped Tohoku Rakuten for hits third win in a ro.

Hideto Asamura broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the sixth.

Marines 6, Fighters 4

At Sapporo Dome, Shohei Kato belted a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth as Chiba Lotte rallied to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.