NAGOYA – Leadoff man Ryosuke Hirata drove in three runs on a pair of hits as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hiroshima Carp 6-5 on Saturday.
Coming into the game with a .337 batting average, the third-best mark in the Cenral League, Hirata hit RBIs in the third and fifth innings to help power the last-place Dragons past the league leaders at Nagoya Dome.
Hiroshima went ahead in the top of the first when CL home run leader Yoshihiro Maru launched his 35th long ball of the season, a two-run effort that sent Dragons starter Kento Fujishima’s 1-2 fastball deep over the right-field fence.
The lead was short-lived, however, with errant fielding by the visitors helping Chunichi take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third.
Masato Matsui, who led off with a double off Hiroshima starter Daichi Osera, scored on a Fujishima bunt thanks to a botched tag attempt at third base.
Hirata then brought home Fujishima with a double deep to right before scoring on the same play when outfielder Seiya Suzuki’s throw to home bounced over catcher Yoshitaka Isomura’s head.
The visitors tied it in the top of the fifth, when Ryosuke Kikuchi scored on a bases-loaded fly single by Ryoma Nishikawa, then edged ahead 4-3 on a Takahiro Arai sacrifice fly that brought home Maru.
Matsui tied the game with his second hit, an RBI double to center in the top of the seventh, before Hirata drove a two-run double up the middle to give the hosts a 6-4 lead.
Hiroshima shortstop Kosuke Tanaka scored on a Xavier Batista single in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to one.
Yu Sato ended the game with a 1-2-3 ninth after Daisuke Sobue and Joely Rodriguez each gave the Dragons a scoreless inning of relief.
Fujishima (3-1) got the win after a six-inning outing in which he struck out four, walked four and gave up four runs on six hits.
Osera (15-6) took the loss, giving up four runs on 10 hits in 5-1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Giants 7, Tigers 2
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin starter Taiki Ono kept Yomiuri scoreless through four innings before surrendering six runs in the top of the fifth.
Hayato Sakamoto and Kazuma Okamoto each slugged two-run homers for Yomiuri.
Swallows at BayStars — late
Hawks 12, Buffaloes 0
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka SoftBank’s batters sent Orix starter Taisuke Yamaoka to an early shower during a seven-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.
Ariel Miranda got the win after holding the visitors to three hits and striking out six over six innings.
Eagles 9, Fighters 4
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, PL cellar dwellers Tohoku Rakuten rang up eight runs in the bottom of the second against Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
Yasuhito Uchida, Zelous Wheeler and Kazuya Fujita belted homers for the Eagles.
Marines 13, Lions 9
At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, first-place Seibu saw its lead in the PL standings cut to four after allowing Chiba Lotte to come from behind.
NPB home run leader Hotaka Yamakawa took his season tally to 37 with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh for Seibu.
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