Veteran Yoshio Itoi broke a 1-1 fifth inning tie with his second home run of the season, leading the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on Sunday.
Trailing 1-0 after 11 of the first 12 batters made out, rookie Teruaki Sato drew a leadoff walk from Michael Peoples (1-1) to open the fifth inning. Jerry Sands doubled Sato home to tie it, and Itoi put the visitors in front at Yokohama Stadium with one swing.
“I’m prepared every day. I prepared well and that resulted in a good result,” said Itoi, a 39-year-old who has been largely relegated to the bench this season. “Teru got on and Sands built the rally, and I just did my part.”
Itoi made two starts during the three-game series in Yokohama and homered both times.
DeNA leadoff man Masayuki Kuwahara doubled and scored in the first off Tigers starter Joe Gunkel, who left the game unexpectedly after pitching out of trouble in the third inning.
Kuwahara made it a 3-2 game in the seventh with his third home run, but Tigers reliever Yuta Iwasada escaped a two-on, one out jam. Suguru Iwazaki worked the eighth for Hanshin and Robert Suarez the ninth for his ninth save.
At Tokyo Dome, Kazuma Okamoto’s second home run of the game, a ninth-inning three-run shot off Tokyo Yakult Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama (0-2), brought the Yomiuri Giants from behind in a 7-5 walk-off win.
At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi Dragons cleanup hitter Dayan Viciedo’s two-run fourth-inning home run made the difference in a 2-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp.
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Yuki Yanagita doubled and scored the tying run and then singled in the go-ahead run to lift the Pacific League champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks to a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Seibu Lions.
At Sapporo Dome, Hiroaki Shimauchi’s fifth-inning RBI double snapped a 2-2 tie and the PL-leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles rolled past the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 6-3.
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, lefty Kazuya Ojima (1-1) overcame a three-run first inning to last five and earn the win as the Chiba Lotte Marines came back to beat the Orix Buffaloes 7-4.
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