Japanese Baseball

Tigers slugger Justin Bour goes deep in Koshien debut

Kyodo

Justin Bour homered in his home debut at historic Koshien Stadium, lifting the Hanshin Tigers to a 2-1 Central League victory over the Yomiuri Giants on Thursday.

Bour broke open a scoreless game in the seventh, blasting a slider up in the zone from Giants starter Cristopher Mercedes (0-2) over the fence in center for his third home run of the season.

In a regular season that did not begin until June 19 on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the Tigers' home opener was further pushed back by two days of rainouts. Like all of the regular season games played so far, it was held behind closed doors. Teams will begin admitting up to 5,000 fans per game from Friday.

Tigers lefty Onelki Garcia scattered six walks and a hit over six innings. Relievers Suguru Iwazaki (1-1) and Robert Suarez each worked a 1-2-3 inning in relief. The Giants got on the board against closer Kyuji Fujikawa, but he hung on for his second save.

At Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium, Shoichi Ino (2-0) allowed a run over six innings for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, and Tyler Austin homered, scored twice and drove in two runs in their 5-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp.

At Nagoya Dome, Kotaro Yamasaki went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including two on a ninth-inning single that brought the Tokyo Yakult Swallows from a run down in an 8-6 win over the Chunichi Dragons.

In the Pacific League, Jabari Blash drove in four runs for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in a 9-1 win over the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks at Fukuoka's PayPay Dome. Blash delivered a first-inning sacrifice fly, singled in two runs to break a 1-1 fifth-inning tie, and walked twice, once with the bases loaded. Eagles starter Takahiro Shiomi (1-2) struck out seven over seven innings.

At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, the Orix Buffaloes came from a run down in the eighth inning against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and their game ended in a 4-4, 10-inning tie. The Buffaloes tied it on a pair of two-out walks, two stolen bases by pinch runner Kodai Sano and a wild throw by catcher Yushi Shimizu.

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