Tetsuto Yamada drove in five runs, including four with a game-breaking sixth-inning grand slam as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows beat the Yomiuri Giants 9-6 in the Central League on Saturday.
The loss was the second of the season for the CL champion Giants.
The Swallows opened the scoring in the first at Jingu Stadium on back-to-back doubles by Tomotaka Sakaguchi and Yamada off Giants lefty Kazuto Taguchi. Yamada scored on a single by Naomichi Nishiura.
Swallows right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, and carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when the wheels came off.
Kazuma Okamoto, who went 4 for 5, homered to open the inning, and Gerardo Parra belted a two-run home run to put the Giants in front. Back-to-back doubles by Takumi Oshiro and Taguchi made it 4-2 and knocked Ogawa from the mound.
With Taguchi out for a pinch-runner, the Swallows scored seven runs off the Giants bullpen in the bottom of the inning. Munetaka Murakami led off with a home run against Kyosuke Takagi. Norichika Aoki's bases-loaded pinch-hit double put Yakult in front and Yamada capped the scoring with his fourth home run of the season.
At Nagoya Dome, Kazuki Yoshimi (1-1) allowed a run over five innings as the Chunichi Dragons snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the Hiroshima Carp.
At Yokohama Stadium, Jerry Sands, who led the Korea Baseball Organization in RBIs last season, had a memorable debut for the Hanshin Tigers. Sands saved a run with a tough catch in the outfield and belted a three-run, ninth-inning home run off Yokohama DeNA BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki in an 8-6 Tigers win.
In the Pacific League, two-time PL home run champ Hotaka Yamakawa's three-run, seventh-inning home run brought the Saitama Seibu Lions from behind in an 8-7 victory over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks at MetLife Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.
At Chiba's Zozo Marine Stadium, Toshiya Sato, Lotte's second draft pick last autumn, recorded his first career hit, a pinch-hit walk-off single in the 10th inning that lifted the Chiba Lotte Marines to a 2-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes.
At Sendai's Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Hideto Asamura homered and drove in seven runs in the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles' 18-4 win over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, whose pitchers issued 10 walks.
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