HIROSHIMA – Jose Lopez broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run homer Tuesday to lead the Yokohama BayStars to a 5-3 victory over the Hiroshima Carp, while the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ win delayed the Central League leaders from clinching their third straight pennant.
The Carp, who entered the day with a magic number of one, needed to win or needed the second-place Swallows to lose in order toclinch the CL title. The Swallows overcame a two-run deficit to beat the Chunichi Dragons in extra innings.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo blasted a second-inning solo shot against Hiroshima starter Yuta Nakamura to give the BayStars an early lead at Mazda Stadium.
In the fifth, Nakamura gave up back-to-back hits and Hiroki Minei doubled in the BayStars’ second run. Nakamura got into a one-out, bases-loaded jam after issuing a walk, but a double play ended the threat.
Designated hitter Takahiro Arai put the Carp on the board in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer against Yokohama reliever Edwin Escobar.
Hiroshima reliever Ryuji Ichioka issued a walk and a hit in the sixth, and yielded Tomo Otosaka’s RBI single to make it 3-1.
Carp slugger Yoshihiro Maru evened the score with Tsutsugo with a solo shot of his own against Shota Imanaga in the sixth. The rivals remain tied with a league-high 38 home runs.
Seiya Suzuki then followed with a single and Ryuhei Matsuyama tied it on an RBI triple, but Imanaga retired three straight batters to strand the first baseman.
Spencer Patton replaced Imanaga in the seventh after two strikeouts and two hits, but issued a walk to his first batter to load the bases. The former major league right-hander got Matsuyama to knock a grounder to second for the inning-ending out.
With a runner on first in the eighth, Lopez took Geronimo Franzua (2-4) long and helped the BayStars move into a tie for third place with the Yomiuri Giants.
BayStars starter Yuki Kuniyoshi fanned two in 3-2/3 scoreless innings, while Patton (4-1) earned the win and Yasuaki Yamasaki picked up his 34th save for a perfect ninth.
Swallows 7, Dragons 4 (10)
At Nagoya Dome, RBI singles from Keiji Obiki and Tomotaka Sakaguchi sent the game into extra innings, and Tokyo Yakult’s Tetsuto Yamada beat a throw to home plate for the go-ahead run in the 10th.
Takeshi Miyamoto’s two-run RBI single with the bases loaded added insurance as the Swallows beat Chunichi and earned their third straight win.
Lions 4, Eagles 3
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Shogo Akiyama overturned the team’s 2-0 lead with a ninth-inning grand slam as league-leading Seibu manufactured its second straight late triumph against Tohoku Rakuten and lowered its magic number to five.
Hawks 8, Buffaloes 5
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Seiji Uebayashi led off with a homer against Donn Roach (2-3), and Yuki Yanagita’s RBI triple sparked a four-run rally in the fifth to help Fukuoka SoftBank extended its winning streak to seven.
Alfredo Despaigne’s two-run shot in the sixth sealed the victory.
The Hawks’ Yuito Mori set an NPB record by saving seven straight games.
After four straight losses, Orix lost the chance to advance to the playoffs.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5