HIROSHIMA – Neftali Soto’s ninth-inning sacrifice fly lifted the DeNA BayStars to a 4-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp on Sunday and kept alive their hopes of advancing to the postseason playoffs.
In front of 31,637 at Mazda Stadium, the BayStars loaded the bases before Soto hit a sacrifice fly off right-handed closer Shota Nakazaki (4-2) to right center field.
The BayStars, currently fourth place in the Central League standings, will be eliminated if they lose either of their remaining games or if the third-place Yomiuri Giants win their regular season finale on Tuesday.
Hiroshima has already clinched the league pennant, and the Yakult Swallows clinched second place.
Soto blasted his 40th home run of the season, a fifth-inning, two run shot off righty Daichi Osera to open the scoring. Soto leads the league in homers with one more than Hiroshima’s Yoshihiro Maru, who struck out once and walked three times.
Hiroshima came from behind in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 lead. Tomohiro Abe doubled in the first run, and Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled in two more in the three-run inning.
BayStars leadoff hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who usually bats cleanup, doubled in the tying run with two outs in the seventh. Taishi Kusumoto led off with a pinch-hit single and was sacrificed to second to set up the run.
Right-hander Spencer Patton (5-1) pitched 1⅓ innings for the win, and Yasuaki Yamasaki earned his 36th save.
Hiroshima starter Daichi Osera took the mound tied with Yomiuri Giants right-hitter Tomoyuki Sugano for most wins. He fanned eight but allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over eight innings, and was unable to earn his first win since Sept. 1.
Swallows 6, Tigers 0
At Jingu Stadium, Wladimir Balentien singled, doubled, homered and drove in three runs, while Masanori Ishikawa (7-6) threw five innings to earn the win as Yakult beat Hanshin.
Hawks 8, Marines 3
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Ariel Miranda (6-1) threw five innings, and three relievers completed the three-hit shutout as SoftBank blasted Lotte.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5