Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hawks soar back into first place with win over Buffaloes

Kyodo

Go Kamamoto drove in the tiebreaking run in the fourth inning as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks moved back to the top of the Pacific League standings with a 5-2 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday.

Kotaro Otake (2-2) got the win at Kyocera Dome after a six-inning start in which he allowed two runs on eight hits, while striking out a pair.

Kamamoto made clean contact with the first pitch from Orix starter Takahiro Matsuba in the top of the fourth for a two-RBI single that broke a 2-2 deadlock.

The left-hander’s shot to right field scored a pair of runners who had reached base on back-to-back errors by the Buffaloes.

Seiichi Uchikawa got to first after third baseman Yuma Tongu fumbled his groundball. He then advanced to second when Hiroyuki Shirasaki failed to get under a pop fly to right by Yuki Mima.

The runners moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt from Takuya Kai, setting the stage for Kamamoto, who finished with three hits and two RBIs from his four plate appearances.

With the teams, respectively, playing in their Nankai Hawks and Hankyu Braves throwback uniforms, SoftBank took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second thanks to RBIs from Alfredo Despaigne and Keizo Kawashima.

Chris Marrero cut the lead to one with an RBI single in the bottom of the second, before Enny Romero tied the game in the third with a line-drive single off Otake that scored Koji Oshiro.

SoftBank slugger Yurisbel Gracial drove in the final run of the game when he hit his ninth home run of the season in the top of the ninth against reliever Sachiya Yamasaki.

Matsuba (0-4) took the loss after giving up two earned runs on nine hits and a walk in his six-inning start.

Lions 4, Eagles 1

At Aomori Prefecture’s Hirosaki Stadium, Hotaka Yamakawa hit his 22nd home run of the season and Seibu beat Tohoku Rakuten, which also relinquished its spot atop the league standings.

Fighters 6, Marines 4

At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham rode a three-run rally in the eighth to a win over Chiba Lotte.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 5, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Daichi Ohsera (5-2) got the win despite giving up three runs, as Hiroshima came back to beat Tokyo Yakult.

BayStars 2, Dragons 1 (11)

At Nagoya Dome, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo drove in the winning run in the eleventh for Yokohama

Tigers 8, Giants 4 (12)

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Shun Takayama hit a sayonara grand slam in the 12th inning to lift the Tigers to a win over Yomiuri.