SENDAI – Kazuya Fujita went 3-for-4 and his RBI single broke an eighth-inning tie as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles beat the Hiroshima Carp 4-3 on Sunday.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Ginji Akaminai easily beat out an infield single to short and was sacrificed to second. Carp reliever Jay Jackson pitched around Japhet Amador with first base open to bring up Fujita.
Jackson missed with a get-me-over slider for a ball. Fujita then put a good swing on a high, inside fastball, pulling it down the right-field line, allowing Akaminai to chug home ahead of the throw.
“I went into the at-bat thinking I wanted to be the hero, so this feels pretty good,” said the Eagles second baseman, who is better known for his slick fielding than his hitting.
Before 27,146 at Kobo Park Miyagi in the final interleague clash between the Pacific League-leading Eagles and their Central League counterparts, Rakuten sent veteran Takayuki Kishi to the mound. The right-hander, an offseason acquisition, allowed two runs in seven innings, but did not figure in the decision.
A first-inning single by leadoff man Eigoro Mogi and a throwing error by Carp first baseman Brad Eldred set up Takero Okajima for a sacrifice fly off rookie Yuta Nakamura. The Carp tied it in the second on a leadoff homer by Seiya Suzuki, and took a fifth-inning lead on a Tsubasa Aizawa RBI single.
Nakamura issued a fifth-inning leadoff walk before two one-out singles loaded the bases. With two outs, he pitched too carefully to slugger Carlos Peguero and walked him, forcing in the tying run.
Fujita singled and scored in the seventh on Okajima’s second sac fly of the game off reliever Shota Nakazaki, but the Carp tied it in the top of the eighth on Yoshihiro Maru’s RBI single off reliever Frank Hermann (1-0).
Yuki Matsui overcame a leadoff single in the ninth to earn his 20th save.
Lions 1, BayStars 0
At MetLife Dome, Yuji Kaneko legged out a double and scored from third with one out on a close play at the plate. Brian Wolfe (6-1) allowed two hits and no walks over seven innings to outduel Shota Imanaga (3-4) as Seibu beat Yokohama.
Dragons 4, Buffaloes 0
At Kyocera Dome, Raul Valdes (2-4) allowed eight runners to reach but pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth to protect a 1-0 lead before two relievers completed Chunichi’s shutout of Orix.
Hawks 5, Tigers 2
At Yafuoku Dome, four walks by Hanshin rookie Taiki Ono (0-2) and an Alfredo Despaigne single contributed to a two-run first inning, and Fukuoka SoftBank’s journeyman lefty Hiroki Yamada (1-0) allowed a run over five innings to earn the win.
Fighters 5, Giants 1
At Sapporo Dome, Toru Murata (1-1), who never played on the first team with the Yomiuri Giants after they drafted him first in 2007, earned his first win in Japan.
Murata, who also pitched for the Cleveland Indians, held Yomiuri to a run in five innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham rocked Giants starter Ryosuke Miyaguni (0-7) for four runs in 3⅔ innings.
Swallows 9, Marines 6
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Tokyo Yakult clobbered rookie Chihaya Sasaki (2-6) for seven first-inning runs and held on to beat Chiba Lotte, snapping a 10-game losing streak behind seven strong innings from David Buchanan (3-4).