Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Shogo Akiyama propels Lions past Fighters

Kyodo

Shogo Akiyama drove in two runs to give the Seibu Lions the lead in a 4-2 victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Tuesday.

Akiyama turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded single off starter Bryan Rodriguez.

“I was just focused on hitting at any cost,” Akiyama said. “We need to keep taking one game at a time. We just need to keep preparing for them as they come.”

Shuta Tonosaki led off the fifth with a single and reached third on a throwing error by third baseman Kensuke Kondo. Rodriguez loaded the bases with a walk before Akiyama’s two-run single put the home team on the scoreboard at MetLife Dome.

Right-hander Zach Neal (7-1) picked up the win. He allowed a run on three hits and two walks, while striking out two over six solid innings. He surrendered a first-inning leadoff home run to Haruki Nishikawa, but retired the next nine. After putting two on to start the Fighters’ fourth, Neal retired six more in a row.

Rodriguez (6-4) started in solid shape, limiting the hard-hitting Lions to one hit and two walks over the first four innings.

Hotaka Yamakawa singled in a run in the sixth to extend Seibu’s lead to two runs. Fumikazu Kimura added the home team’s final run in the eighth. Tonosaki, who had a hand in three of the Lions’ runs, doubled with two outs in the eighth and scored on Kimura’s single.

Ryo Watanabe tripled and scored in the seventh, but it was not enough for Nippon Ham to come from behind.

Marines 7, Eagles 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Katsuya Kakunaka doubled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on a Takashi Ogino double as Chiba Lotte defeated Tohoku Rakuten.

Hiromi Oka put the game out of reach with an eighth-inning, three-run home run.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Nagoya Dome, Christopher Mercedes (8-6) pitched five-plus innings and four relievers threw an inning each in Yomiuri’s triumph over Chunichi.

Yoshihiro Maru singled in a first-inning run and scored the Giants’ second on a delayed two-out double steal.

Carp 9, Swallows 8

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Takumi Miyoshi’s two-out RBI single capped a four-run, ninth-inning rally and lifted Hiroshima to a walk-off win over Tokyo Yakult.

Tigers 8, BayStars 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Seiya Kinami drew a bases-loaded walk to open the scoring before Kosuke Fukudome hit a three-run double in the fifth as Hanshin hammered Yokohama.

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