HIROSHIMA – Xavier Batista’s fourth pinch-hit homer of the season overturned a one-run deficit as the Hiroshima Carp beat the Yokohama BayStars 5-1 on Monday night.
Before 31,910 at Mazda Stadium, the Carp and BayStars opened their final series before this week’s All-Star break.
In a tight pitchers’ duel between Yokohama lefty Shota Imanaga and Hiroshima’s Yusuke Nomura, Batista turned the complexion of the game around with one swing.
Batting for Nomura with one out and a runner on first, Batista drove a high 1-0 slider from Imanaga into the screen high over the left-field seats that stops balls from landing on the railroad tracks behind the stadium.
“I’ve been getting good swings at high pitches and fat pitches,” said Batista, whose four pinch-hit homers are the most in Nippon Professional Baseball this season.
“Power is my calling card, so I try to hit the ball really far.”
Imanaga (5-5) allowed two runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. Once the cork was out of the bottle, however, the Carp tacked on three runs in the eighth to ice it off Yokohama’s bullpen.
With both starters making their pitches, scoring opportunities were at a premium, but the BayStars struck first. No. 9 hitter Toshihiko Kuramoto singled to open the third and chugged around the bases on a Masashi Kuwahara double.
A sacrifice put the visitors in pole position to add another run, but Nomura popped up Japan cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Central League RBI leader Jose Lopez hit a bullet, but it was caught at short for the third out.
Imanaga, who pitched out of a bases-loaded pickle in the first by striking out 2016 MVP Takahiro Arai, defused another time bomb in the fifth, when he fell behind to Yoshihiro Maru with two on and two outs. But the lefty laid siege to the outside corner and got Maru to ground out.
Nomura was in a jam in the sixth after Tsutsugo and Lopez singled with one out. But the right-hander got league batting leader Toshiro Miyazaki to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Nomura (5-3) allowed five hits and a walk, while striking out six in seven innings. Shota Nakazaki worked around Kuwahara’s second double of the night in a scoreless eighth before Takero Imamura slammed the door in the ninth.
Giants 3, Swallows 2
At Tokyo Dome, Hisayoshi Chono’s seventh-inning solo homer broke a 2-2 tie and made a winner out of lefty Kazuto Taguchi (8-2) as Yomiuri came from behind to beat Tokyo Yakult, which lost its eighth in a row for the second time this season.
Lions 5, Marines 3
At MetLife Dome, Takeya Nakamura’s 19th home run of the season broke a 3-3, sixth-inning tie, and Chiba Lotte failed to get a hit over the final six innings in a loss to Seibu.
Buffaloes 11, Fighters 0
At Kyocera Dome, Sachiya Yamasaki (2-1) threw his first career shutout, while Masataka Yoshida and Stefen Romero set the tone early with first-inning homers off Hiroshi Urano (3-3) in Orix’s win over Hokkaido Nippon Ham.