Norichika Aoki’s big night at the plate led the Tokyo Yakult Swallows to their third straight win, a 7-2 Central League victory over the Chunichi Dragons on Wednesday.
Aoki, in his first season back in Japan after six years in the majors, opened the scoring in the first, with his sixth home run, a two-run shot off Dragons rookie Kento Fujishima (1-1). Aoki doubled twice, scored twice and drove in four runs at Jingu Stadium.
Matt Carasiti (5-0) won for the first time since being added to the starting rotation. The right-hander allowed a run on six hits and three walks over six innings. He also had two hits and scored twice.
The pitcher led off the Swallows’ third with a single. Naomichi Nishiura followed with his second double of the game, and Aoki doubled both of them home.
Carasiti’s fifth-inning leadoff single and a one-out Aoki double set up a three-run inning that proved to be the knockout blow.
Carp 8, Giants 6
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s top-four batters overwhelmed Yomiuri, accounting for eight runs, eight hits and five RBIs, powering the league-leading Carp to their fifth straight win.
Tigers 16, BayStars 6
At Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama starter Satoshi Iizuka (1-5) allowed six runs on six walks and six hits over 3-1/3 innings, allowing Hanshin starter Shintaro Fujinami (2-2) to win despite an abysmal performance in which he gave up five runs in five innings.
Buffaloes 3, Lions 3 (12)
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, struggling slugger Takeya Nakamura’s two home runs enabled Seibu to come from behind and tie Orix.
Nakamura, a six-time PL home run champion, has not hit more than one home run in a game since July 3, 2017, when he did it at home run-friendly Tokyo Dome.
The Buffaloes took the lead in the fourth off Brian Wolfe. Yuma Mune got things started with a leadoff single that struck the pitcher in the back. Wolfe missed his next two pitches, a wild pitch that advanced the runner and a high hanging curve that Stefen Romero blasted over the outfield fence. It was his 13th home run of the year.
Two singles and a one-out walk loaded the bases, but Wolfe pitched out of trouble. He got a ground ball to his drawn-in infield and a force at the plate followed by a flyout.
Nakamura, who had reached on an infield single in the Lions’ second, had not hit a homer off Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko in over two years. Leading off the fifth, however, Nakamura hit a long opposite-field blast to right to trim to the Buffaloes’ lead to a run.
Takahiro Okada, however, restored the Buffaloes’ two-run cushion with his ninth home run of the season, a one-out solo shot off Wolfe in the sixth.
Wolfe, who was pitching for the first time since June 10, allowed 10 hits and walked two but gave up just three runs over 5-2/3 innings.
Kaneko lasted seven innings, but let the Lions tie it in the seventh, when Nakamura hit his third homer of the year, a blast to left with one out and a man on. The Orix right-hander allowed six hits and a walk, while striking out six.
Five relievers for Orix and six for Seibu ensured that neither team would make another breakthrough as the game was called a tie after 12 innings.
Marines 4, Eagles 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Chiba Lotte’s Yuki Ariyoshi (3-1) allowed three runs in six innings, while Seiya Inoue doubled twice, drove in two first-inning runs and scored the eventual winning run against Tohoku Rakuten on Tsuyoshi Sugano’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
Fighters 3, Hawks 2
At Okinawa Cellular Stadium, Hokkaido Nippon Ham rallied for three ninth-inning runs against Yuito Mori (0-3) in a come-from-behind win over Fukuoka SoftBank.
Oswaldo Arcia homered with one out, Kensuke Tanaka tied it with a two-out, pinch-hit single and Taishi Ota decided it with a bases-loaded walk.