Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Shuhei Fukuda crushes sixth-inning grand slam as Hawks soar past Giants

Kyodo

Pinch hitter Shuhei Fukuda broke a 2-2 tie with a sixth-inning grand slam to lift the interleague-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks to an 8-3 come-from-behind victory over the Yomiuri Giants on Friday.

Hawks starter Kodai Senga (7-2) allowed two runs as he scattered six hits and four walks over six innings, while striking out 11. The win lifted SoftBank a full game ahead of the Giants in the interleague standings with two games left to play between the clubs at Tokyo Dome.

Trailing by two in the sixth inning, Seiji Uebayashi homered to open the inning against Cristopher Mercedes (5-4). The Giants starter left the game after allowing a pair of two-out singles, but the bullpen failed to bail him out.

Reliever Yosuke Miyaguni walked the bases loaded, and Hawks catcher Takuya Kai beat out a bunt single to tie it. Facing side-arm lefty Masahiko Morifuku, a former Hawks teammate, Fukuda blasted a fat 2-1 slider well back into the right-field stands.

“Morifuku and I turned pro the same year, but this is how things turn out in this world sometimes,” Fukuda said. “Kai did an amazing job to bring me up to the plate with that bunt single, and I wanted to untie the game.”

Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Ryan Cook to complete the scoring.

Yoshihiro Maru, who drove in all four of Yomiuri’s runs in the Giants’ 4-2 win on Thursday against the Orix Buffaloes, scored both of the Giants’ runs against Senga. The two-time reigning Central League MVP singled and scored in the third and homered to lead off the fifth.

Dragons 4, Fighters 2

At Nagoya Dome, Shuhei Takahashi hit a three-run homer in the first and Yuya Yanagi (8-2) allowed a run over seven innings to win his fifth straight start as Chunichi topped Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Marines 12, Swallows 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Takashi Ogino homered to open the game, scored twice and drove in three runs, while Tsuyoshi Sugano homered twice in Chiba Lotte’s rout of Tokyo Yakult.

BayStars 3, Eagles 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Yamato Maeda had his second game-winning RBI double in three days, lifting Yokohama to a walk-off win over Tohoku Rakuten.

Buffaloes 5, Carp 4

Tigers 5, Lions 3