Former Dodger Jerry Sands delivered the big blow for the Hanshin Tigers as they beat the Yokohama DeNA BayStars 7-5 in a Central League slugfest on Sunday.
Sands broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out, two-run home run over Koshien Stadium’s center-field fence. Sands walked, reached on an error, and scored twice in four plate appearances as the league-leading Tigers overcame a tough fight from the last-place BayStars.
“In that seventh inning, we did good getting guys into scoring positions,” Sands said of the situation after teammate Yusuke Oyama tied the game with a sacrifice fly. “I just wanted to hit a ball that would give us the lead and luckily it went out.”
Second-year Tigers right-hander Joe Gunkel, transitioning this season from the bullpen to the starting rotation, came in looking to improve to 5-0, but had a tough go of it, allowing three runs over 5⅔ innings. The pitcher, however, doubled to lead off the Tigers’ fifth and scored in the two-run frame.
Marquee rookie Teruaki Sato gave the hosts the early lead with a two-run homer after Sands drew a leadoff walk in the second inning.
The BayStars fought back, however, powered by two RBIs from Tyler Austin and three from Keita Sano.
But two final scoreless frames from the Tigers relievers ended it, with closer Robert Suarez earning his sixth save.
Carp 9, Giants 8
At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima rookie Shosei Nakamura scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a ninth-inning leadoff pinch-hit double in a win over Yomiuri.
Swallows 4, Dragons 3
At Jingu Stadium, new imports Jose Osuna and Domingo Santana each hit their first home runs in Japan for Tokyo Yakult.
Marines 8, Hawks 5
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, rookie Shota Suzuki (1-1) allowed two runs over 6⅓- innings and the Lotte Marines held on to give the lefty his first pro victory in a win over Pacific League-leading SoftBank.
Eagles 8, Lions 4
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Hiroaki Shimauchi drove in four runs for the Eagles.
Buffaloes 4, Fighters 4
At Sapporo Dome, Kensuke Kondo’s ninth-inning solo home run helped Nippon Ham earn a tie against Orix.
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