Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Neftali Soto's three-run blast in first provides big spark for victorious BayStars

Kyodo

Katsuki Azuma allowed four hits and a run over eight innings, and his teammates gave him an early lead as the Yokohama BayStars defeated the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants 5-1 on Friday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Azuma went to the mound at Tokyo Dome with a 3-0 lead thanks to two two-out walks by Giants starter Toshiki Sakurai and Neftali Soto’s 31st home run.

After Azuma retired the Giants 1-2-3 in the first, BayStars veteran Takayuki Kajitani belted a two-run homer. Kajitani, once a key offensive star for Yokohama, was playing on the first team for the first time since May 4.

Azuma struck out two without issuing a walk to improve to 4-2, and lefty Edwin Escobar struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to end it.

Sakurai (7-3) allowed five runs on four hits and three walks over three innings. The BayStars collected just one walk and one hit after he left, but the damage was done.

Dragons 4, Carp 1

At Nagoya Dome, Nobumasa Fukuda’s two-out home run off Hiroshima starter Daichi Osera (10-7) was followed by four straight doubles in a four-run sixth inning as Chunichi downed the Carp.

Tigers 8, Swallows 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Haruto Takahashi (3-5) allowed two runs — one earned — over six innings as Hanshin won its fourth straight by trouncing Tokyo Yakult.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Marines 3, Hawks 0

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Mike Bolsinger (4-4) and three Chiba Lotte relievers combined on a four-hit shutout against Fukuoka SoftBank.

The Marines’ Seiya Inoue iced the game with a two-run, eighth-inning homer off Kodai Senga (11-6).

Lions 8, Eagles 6

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Fumikazu Kimura’s two-run, fourth-inning homer shattered a 4-4 tie and Shogo Akiyama capped the inning by homering for the second straight day as Seibu topped Tohoku Rakuten.

Buffaloes 6, Fighters 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Taisuke Yamaoka (10-3) went six innings to earn the win, while Masataka Yoshida and Stefen Romero both homered for Orix in a victory over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

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