YOKOHAMA – Keiji Obiki drove in three early runs with a two-out, bases-loaded double on Sunday afternoon as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows snapped a three-week losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Yokohama BayStars.
The Swallows had been one defeat away from eclipsing their Central League-record of 16 straight losses set by the team in 1970. The Tokyo-based club had not won since May 12 and had fallen from second place to last, over 12 games out of first.
DeNA starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-3) gave up back-to-back singles to Norichika Aoki and Tetsuto Yamada in the first inning at Yokohama Stadium, and found himself in an early bases-loaded jam after Wladimir Balentien reached on a mishandled grounder by first baseman Jose Lopez.
Hamaguchi fanned Munetaka Murakami for the second out, but Obiki connected on his first pitch from the left-hander and emptied the bases with a deep shot to right center field. The Swallows’ third baseman drew a walk and flied out twice in his other at-bats.
Yakult tacked on two more runs after Yasutaka Shiomi blasted an RBI triple off BayStars reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi in the second and Balentien led off the third with a solo homer.
Juri Hara (3-5) worked 6⅔ solid innings for the win, striking out four while giving up five hits and a walk. The only run Hara allowed came on a solo shot from Lopez in the second. Taichi Ishiyama yielded the BayStars’ second run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The Chiba Lotte Marines own the record for most consecutive losses in Japanese baseball with 18 in 1998.
Lopez’s error ended Japan’s longest streak of consecutive chances at first base without an error at 1,632. The Venezuelan’s last regular-season error came on Aug. 31, 2017.
Giants 3, Dragons 1
At Tokyo Dome, Hayato Sakamoto broke a fifth-inning tie with a two-run homer to lead the Yomiuri Giants to a 3-1 win over the Chunichi Dragons. Shun Yamaguchi (5-2) fanned eight and allowed a run on four hits and two walks.
Tigers 7, Carp 5
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers batted around Makoto Aduwa (2-2) in a seven-run second and held out for a 7-5 win over the Hiroshima Carp. Onelki Garcia (2-2) got the win despite yielding five runs in the Carp’s sixth-inning rally.
Eagles 4, Hawks 1
The PL-leading Tohoku Rakuten Eagles pulled two games ahead of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks with a 4-1 victory over the hosts at Yafuoku Dome. Eigoro Mogi sparked the Eagles’ third straight win with a leadoff homer against Robert Suarez (0-2) and Kengo Horiuchi added a two-run double in the second. Manabu Mima (4-3) pitched three-hit ball into the seventh.
Fighters 8, Buffaloes 5
At Kyocera Dome in Osaka, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters recorded their sixth straight win with an 8-5 come-from-behind victory over the Orix Buffaloes. Taishi Ota’s two-run homer off Kohei Suzuki (1-3) in the third tied the game before Sho Nakata’s grand slam in the fourth sealed the win.
Marines 8, Lions 1
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Ayumu Ishikawa (3-2) held the visitors to a run over seven innings and Naoya Emura belted a grand slam in a five-run fourth as the Marines hammered the Saitama Seibu Lions 8-1. Seibu rookie Wataru Matsumoto (1-1) gave up eight runs and three homers and was tagged with his first professional loss.