TOKOROZAWA, SAITAMA PREF. – Takahiro Araki tied the game with a ninth-inning, pinch-hit RBI single, helping the Tokyo Yakult Swallows overturn a late deficit in their 6-5 interleague victory over the Seibu Lions on Saturday.
The Swallows salvaged a win by beating Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda (3-1) after blowing a 4-0 eighth-inning lead at MetLife Dome.
A leadoff single, a throwing error, a sacrifice and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with no outs for Araki, who singled home pinch runner Yasutaka Shiomi. After another sacrifice bunt, Tetsuto Yamada’s sac fly scored Kotaro Yamasaki with the go-ahead run.
“The guys ahead of me set the table, and with the outfield playing back I felt all I had to do was get the ball out of the infield,” said Araki, who marked his third straight game with at least one RBI off the bench. “The one thing I wanted to avoid was a strikeout.”
Taichi Ishiyama, who saved 35 games for Yakult last season but missed most of May, recorded his eighth save and his first since April 30.
Yakult’s eighth-inning bullpen meltown cost southpaw starter Masanori Ishikawa his 25th career interleague victory.
The 39-year-old lefty baffled the reigning Pacific League champions with his wide selection of low-speed pitches during seven scoreless innings. Ishikawa, who is tied for second in interleague wins with Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada and Chiba Lotte Marines right-hander Hideaki Wakui, left with a 4-0 lead after giving up back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom eighth.
Reliever Yugo Umeno, who had not hit a batter or issued a walk in his last seven games, struck out the first batter he faced but hit the next. Back-to-back walks then pushed across two runs.
With two outs, the bases loaded and the Swallows still leading 4-2, Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura had a shot at extending his NPB record for career grand slams to 19, but settled for a three-run double off reliever Scott McGough (4-1).
Ishikawa surrendered two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out five over 7-1/3 innings.
Yakult got on the board in the second against Keisuke Honda on a two-out Yuhei Nakamura walk and a Yamasaki RBI double. Yamada singled and Norichika Aoki doubled in the third and scored on Wladimir Balentien’s RBI single. Aoki made it 4-0 in the eighth with his 10th home run of the season.
Hawks 4, BayStars 3
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka SoftBank closer Yuito Mori escaped with his 19th save after allowing four hits and two runs in the ninth against Yokohama.
The game ended on a double play that was upheld after a video review.
Giants 8, Fighters 5
At Sapporo Dome, Yomiuri jumped on Chihiro Kaneko (3-4) for six runs in 2-1/3 innings, while Shun Yamaguchi (6-2) allowed two unearned runs over eight innings in a triumph over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.