Wild finish: Collision rule review in ninth inning carries Carp past Lions


The Hiroshima Carp were forced to wait out a lengthy video decision, but were declared 3-2 winners over the Seibu Lions on Tuesday, after catcher Tatsuyuki Uemoto left his leg in the base line before a play at the plate in which the runner was called out to apparently end the ninth inning.

The Central League-leading Carp appeared headed for a 2-1 victory after Pacific League home run leader Ernesto Mejia hit into a ninth-inning double play. But with two outs, Tomoya Mori homered to tie it before 26,316 at Mazda Stadium.

Hiroshima closer Shota Nakazaki (1-3), who blew the save, earned the win in relief when Ryosuke Kikuchi scored from second on Masato Akamatsu’s two-out single to center.

“I was in the same boat as the fans, just waiting for the decision,” said Akamatsu. “I wasn’t thinking about what would happen if it went against us, because I was sure Kikuchi was safe.”

Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda (3-3) retired the first two batters he faced, but Kikuchi singled, stole second — and after a walk — arrived home just after the throw from center fielder Shogo Akiyama. Kikuchi tried to slide around Uemoto’s tag, but was called out by home plate umpire Kunio Kiuchi.

Carp skipper Koichi Ogata stormed out of the dugout, but was calmed by Kiuchi’s assurance that the play would be reviewed. The home team and their fans had to wait for nearly 10 minutes while the umpires convened. Kikuchi was declared safe after Uemoto was ruled to have obstructed the base line with the ball — something prohibited this season in Nippon Professional Baseball.

Through seven innings, Hiroshima starter Takaya Toda outdueled fellow lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Toda allowed one run on five hits, two walks and a hit batsman, while striking out seven. Kikuchi gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out 11.

Yoshihiro Maru opened the scoring in the fourth, when he singled, stole second and scored on Seiya Suzuki’s two-out single. Brad Eldred took Kikuchi deep in the sixth to make it 2-0, but Mejia hit his 22nd home run of the season into the second deck in left to pull the Lions within a run in the seventh.

Jay Jackson worked a 1-2-3 eighth for the Carp, only for Nakazaki to lose the lead in the ninth on one swing by Mori.

Swallows 6, Hawks 4

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yuhei Nakamura drove in three runs, including two on a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth off reliever Robert Suarez (1-3), as Yakult won a seesaw battle against Fukuoka SoftBank.

Marines 4, Dragons 2

At Gifu’s Nagaragawa Stadium, Ayumu Ishikawa (7-2) allowed two runs in seven innings and Jamaico Navarro hit a two-run home run as Chiba Lotte defeated Chunichi.

Eagles 4, Giants 1

At Tokyo Dome, Takahiro Norimoto (7-3) allowed a run in eight innings and Yuki Matsui recorded his 13th save as Tohoku Rakuten rallied from a run down to defeat Yomiuri and win three straight for the first time since April 8.

Fighters 4, BayStars 0

At Niigata’s Hard Off Eco Stadium, 2015 PL rookie of the year Kohei Arihara (6-3) snapped a personal three-start losing streak with a five-hit shutout as Hokkaido Nippon Ham defeated Yokohama.

Tigers 2, Buffaloes 0

At Koshien Stadium, Atsushi Nomi (4-5) went five innings, and four relievers completed a five-hit shutout as Hanshin blankedOrix to win the first game of their Kansai derby.

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