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Tigers’ Fumiya Hojo provides big offensive spark in victory over Carp

Kyodo

Fumiya Hojo had three hits and drove in two runs to pace the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-3 win over the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp on Wednesday.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Hojo’s one-out single off right-hander Allen Kuri (4-3) tied the game at Koshien Stadium. Hayata Ito’s RBI infield single put the Tigers ahead and Effren Navarro capped the four-run inning with a two-run single.

Hojo singled in an insurance run in the fourth, and right-hander Hiroto Saiki (3-3) earned the win after allowing three runs — two earned — in five-plus innings.

“I spent some time on the farm, and down there I spent a lot of time on my batting, and the good results I’ve had recently are a reflection of that,” said Hojo, who has driven in seven runs in his last five games.

“My fielding has gotten better because during practice the manager hits really hard shots to me.”

Saiki surrendered four hits, walked three and hit a batter. He struck out five, but his night ended when he gave up a Xavier Batista’s 15th home run of the year to lead off the Carp sixth.

Kuri was charged with five runs on eight hits and two walks over four innings. The loss ended Hiroshima’s four-game winning streak.

BayStars 4, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Neftali Soto belted his 13th home run, a three-run blast in the fifth, and Haruhito Hamaguchi (1-2) outdueled fellow lefty Onelki Garcia (10-5) as Yokohama snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Chunichi.

Swallows 6, Giants 5

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Wladimir Balentien gave his team the lead with a three-run, fifth-inning home run as Tokyo Yakult edged Yomiuri.

With five straight victories, the Swallows moved into second place, a half-game ahead of the Giants.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Eagles 8, Fighters 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yuri Furukawa (4-3) struck out nine, while scattering five hits and three walks over six scoreless innings to earn the win after Tohoku Rakuten hammered Hokkaido Nippon Ham starter Nick Martinez (7-7) for seven runs in 4-1/3 innings.

Lions 6, Buffaloes 5 (10)

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Tomoya Mori’s two-run single in the third helped Seibu tie it at 4-4, and his ninth-inning sacrifice fly sent the game to extra innings, when captain Hideto Asamura singled in the winning run against Orix.