A seventh-inning solo homer by Ryosuke Hirata proved decisive as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp 7-5 on Saturday.

Hiroshima battled back from a run down in the sixth to tie it at 5-5 before Hirata hammered a solo shot — his eighth homer of the season — into the left-field stands off right-hander Daichi Osera (15-7).

"I thought that the only way to score was to homer, so I went to the plate with a strong determination," Hirata said. "I knew it was a homer the moment I hit the ball."