HIROSHIMA – Ryoma Nishikawa’s tie-breaking, three-run home run led the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp to a 7-4 come-from-behind win over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Wednesday.
One night after a heartbreaking loss in a game the Carp were on the verge of winning, Nishikawa came up in the fifth inning with two on and one out against relief pitcher Ryo Akiyoshi with the score tied at 4-4.
The 23-year-old Nishikawa, a left-handed-hitting utility infielder, drilled Akiyoshi’s first pitch, a high slider, into the stands to make it a 7-4 game.
“Actually, I didn’t think it would get out, but I’m happy it did,” said Nishikawa who had dented Carp rallies by striking out to end the first and hitting into a double play in the third. “I thought I hit it too high.
“I didn’t get a hit in either of my first two at-bats, so I wanted to make something happen in my third, and I was looking to go after the first pitch,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Carp thought they had the final out recorded in a one-run victory only to have the out overturned on video review. The Swallows then scored in the ninth to tie it before winning in extra innings.
On Wednesday, Aren Kuri (7-3) and three relievers shut down the Swallows over the final six innings.
Wladimir Balentien drove in four runs for the visitors. His RBI double in the first plated Tetsuto Yamada to open the scoring. Balentien’s CL-leading 32nd homer drove in Norichika Aoki and Yamada to make it a 4-2 game in the top of the third.
But the Carp battled back, with Seiya Suzuki scoring on Nishikawa’s third-inning double play to trim Yakult’s lead to a run.
Suzuki had knocked Tateyama out of the game when he drilled an infield single off the right-hander’s elbow to open the third. Right-hander Ren Kazahari (2-4) took over, and he surrendered a leadoff home run to Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa in the fourth, and had allowed two men to reach in the fifth before being replaced by Akiyoshi.
BayStars 2, Giants 0
At Yokohama Stadium, Shoichi Ino (4-2) threw seven innings and three relievers completed a four-hit shutout, while Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s 26th homer accounted for both of the BayStars’ runs off Yomiuri starter Mitsuo Yoshikawa (6-4).
Tigers 5, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, rookie right-hander Hiroto Saiki (4-6) allowed two runs over seven innings, and 41-year-old Kosuke Fukudome continued his banner year with his 12th home run, two runs and two RBIs as Hanshin beat Chunichi.
Hawks 9, Fighters 6
At Tokyo Dome, one night after hitting his first home run in Japan, Cuban Yurisbel Gracial belted two and drove in five runs as Fukuoka SoftBank beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham and pulled to within a half-game of the second-place Fighters.
Buffaloes 3, Eagles 1
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Torai Fushimi hit a two-run, fourth-inning home run that gave Orix the lead for good against Tohoku Rakuten, while Masataka Yoshida provided an insurance run in the ninth with his 21st homer.
Lions 8, Marines 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Hotaka Yamakawa capped Seibu’s six-run seventh inning with his Japan-best 36th home run in a come-from-behind win over Lotte.