NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. - Hirofumi Yamanaka earned his first win of the season on Thursday as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows defeated the Hanshin Tigers 3-1.
In his 10th appearance this year, Yamanaka (1-0) fanned three and allowed an unearned run in 7-1/3 innings, while the Swallows capitalized on three Hanshin errors to scrape out their fifth straight win.
With the game scoreless in the fifth, Tigers starter Hiroto Saiki (4-7) fanned his first batter but yielded a walk to Yuhei Nakamura.
Yamanaka reached on a bunt when catcher Ryutaro Umeno underthrew to second, allowing Nakamura to find third. On the next play, Nakamura crossed the plate on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s sacrifice fly for the opening run at Koshien Stadium.
Norichika Aoki drove in Yakult’s second run when Saiki got into a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, issuing two walks, with another runner reaching base on a fielding error.
The Tigers got on the board in the eighth after Umeno led off the inning with a double. Kento Itohara later smashed a line drive to right, and a fumbled scoop from outfielder Yuhei Takai allowed Umeno to score.
Sakaguchi’s RBI double to left-center in the ninth capped the scoring, and Taichi Ishiyama earned his 25th save for a perfect ninth as Yakult retains second place in the Central League.
Carp 6, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Xavier Batista’s solo shot and a sac fly in the second gave league-leading Hiroshima an early three-run lead, and a late rally secured a win over Yomiuri.
BayStars 4, Dragons 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo blasted a three-run homer in the third, while Yokohamarookie Katsuki Azuma (9-5) struck out seven and scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings.
With the win, the BayStars climbed into fifth above last-place Chunichi.
Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-4 and recorded his 46th hit of the month, tying the CL record set by ex-Giants third baseman Shuichi Murata in 2013.
Buffaloes 6, Fighters 1
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Hiroyuki Nakajima doubled in the go-ahead run in the first as Orix overturned an early deficit and ended Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s three-game winning streak.
Taisuke Yamaoka (5-10) fanned eight and allowed a run in 6-2/3 innings.