Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Shogo Akiyama leads Lions to extra-innings victory over Eagles

Kyodo

Shogo Akiyama hit an 11th-inning, tie-breaking home run Sunday, lifting the Seibu Lions to a 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

In front of 25,851 at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, the Lions’ leadoff man had his first hit of the game when he homered off left-hander Yuhei Takanashi in the 11th inning.

“I wasn’t thinking about sealing the win by myself. I just tried to get on base so our team could pick up the rhythm,” Akiyama said.

“If I had fulfilled my job as leadoff man from the beginning, (starter) Yusei (Kikuchi) could’ve pitched with more ease, but I’m relieved that I was able to get the best result.”

Seibu right-hander Fabio Castillo (7-4) earned the win despite blowing a two-run, 10th-inning lead after home runs from Shuta Tonosaki and Ernesto Mejia. In the bottom of the inning, the Eagles rallied against Castillo, a single and two walks setting up Toshiaki Imae’s game-tying, two-run single.

Shogo Noda recorded his first career save after entering in the 11th inning with two outs and runners on the corners.

Kikuchi gave up a run on three hits and five walks over nine innings and struck out six. In his previous start on June 29, he yielded six runs to Rakuten in his first loss of the season.

Rakuten starter Takahiro Shiomi was nearly as good. He lasted eight innings and did not allow a hit until Tonosaki singled in the fifth and scored on Takeya Nakamura’s RBI single. The Eagles tied it in the seventh, when Kikuchi walked the first two batters and a run came in on a groundout.

Hawks 8, Buffaloes 0

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Rick van den Hurk (6-6) limited the Buffaloes to two hits and three walks, while striking out eight over seven innings in Fukuoka SoftBank’s win over Orix. Akira Nakamura, Yuki Yanagita and Tetsuro Nishida each had 2 RBIs.

Fighters 6, Marines 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Taishi Ota singled in two runs in the second inning, and scored when Sho Nakata’s two-run single capped a four-run, sixth inning as Hokkaido Nippon Ham beat Chiba Lotte.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 6, Carp 4

At Tokyo Dome, Kazuma Okamoto’s fourth-inning, two-run homer capped a five-run inning as Yomiuri came from behind to beat league-leading Hiroshima.

Dragons 5, Swallows 4

At Nagoya Dome, Zoilo Almonte gave Chunichi the lead with a two-run, sixth-inning double, and Yohei Oshima added an RBI single in the seventh in a win over Tokyo Yakult.

BayStars 1, Tigers 0

At Koshien Stadium, Masayuki Kuwahara reached on a third-inning double and scored on an error, allowing Yokohama’s Shoichi Ino (3-0) to win a pitcher’s duel with Hanshin lefty Yuta Iwasada, 3-4.