Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Eagles rally from eight runs down to beat Fighters

Kyodo

Kazuya Fujita scored the winning run in the 11th inning Wednesday as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles rallied from eight runs down to beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 9-8 in a dramatic sayonara victory.

Hideto Asamura tied the game with a ninth-inning, solo home run against right-hander Ryo Akiyoshi, and Fujita scored on a Zelous Wheeler sacrifice fly to turn the game around at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Fujita led off the 11th with a single off Fighters reliever Taisho Tamai (0-1), reached third base on a Hiroaki Shimauchi single and sprinted home on the sac fly.

“I was determined to reach base when I stepped to the plate, so I was glad I was able to get a hit,” Fujita said. “To be honest, I really wanted a pinch runner to replace me, but manager (Yosuke) Hiraishi said he wouldn’t. So I wanted to come home no matter what.

“All of the players are very persistent and determined not to give up (even when trailing), so I think that’s why we have been able to win these games,” he said.

With the Eagles trailing 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Jabari Blash blasted a grand slam against Fighters starter Chihiro Kaneko. The slugger went deep again in the eighth inning, belting a two-run homer to cut the deficit to two runs.

Motohiro Shima capped the Eagles’ three-run eighth inning by hitting his third homer of the season, a solo shot against righty Naoya Ishikawa.

Sung Chia-hao (1-1) picked up his first win of the season after pitching a scoreless 11th inning. He allowed a hit and a walk to the five batters he faced.

Taishi Ota powered the Fighters early, hitting homers in consecutive at-bats, in the first and third innings, and driving in four runs.

But with Rakuten gaining momentum, the visitors were unable to hold the lead.

Lions 5, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Shuta Tonosaki hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth as Seibu came back to beat the league-leading Hawks on the road.

Buffaloes 3, Marines 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, 20-year-old starter Tsubasa Sakakibara (2-3) threw seven innings for the win.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 9, Swallows 7 (10)

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki connected on a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Carp to a win over Yakult.

Hiroshima staged a four-run rally to even the score in the ninth before winning it in extra innings.

Tigers 13, Giants 8

At Tokyo Dome, Hanshin had 18 hits, including 11 against starter Tomoyuki Sugano (5-3), in a win over Yomiuri.

BayStars 8, Dragons 2

At Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars drove in five runs in the bottom of the sixth, including a grand slam from Hikaru Ito, on the way to a win over Chunichi