A three-run error triggered a seven-run inning and sparked the fourth-place Hiroshima Carp to an 11-7 win over the Central League-leading Tokyo Yakult Swallows that threw the pennant race into confusion on Thursday.
Hiroshima’s win at Jingu Stadium kept its slim playoff hopes alive and threw a lifeline to the second-place Hanshin Tigers, whose pennant prospects looked all but over last weekend.
The Carp trailed 6-3 in the seventh, but were threatening with two on and no outs against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (5-9). Swallows center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi charged a hard smash up the middle from rookie Koki Ugusa but failed to stop it. The ball rolled to the warning track allowing both base runners and Ugusa to score and tie the game.
Kaito Kozono singled to chase Taguchi, and after getting one out, new pitcher Albert Suarez surrendered three straight hits. Shogo Sakakura singled in the tie-breaking run and a Ryosuke Kikuchi flare plated one more.
With two outs, Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa, whose single led off the inning, drove a ball just far enough to get over Yakult’s drawn-in outfield for a two-run double.
Earlier in the game, the Carp took a 3-1 lead against Yakult right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa, but the Swallows knocked out Hiroshima ace Daichi Osera with five runs in the fourth and appeared to be cruising toward victory — until they suddenly weren’t.
Tigers 6, Dragons1
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, lefty Haruto Takahashi (4-2) struck out nine over eight scoreless innings as Hanshin beat Chunichi.
Buffaloes 3, Lions 2
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, rookie lefty Hiroya Miyagi (13-4) allowed a run over 5-⅔ innings as Pacific League-leading Orix inched closer to the franchise’s first pennant since 1996.
Hawks 2, Fighters 2
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, closer Yuito Mori allowed two ninth-inning runs to spoil eight scoreless innings from Nick Martinez as the fourth-place SoftBank Hawks blew a late lead in their 2-2 tie with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
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