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Baseball: BayStars, Swallows prevent Carp from clinching CL pennant

Jose Lopez of the DeNA BayStars hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning of a game against the Hiroshima Carp at Mazda Stadium on Sept. 25, 2018. (Kyodo)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Jose Lopez broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run homer Tuesday to lead the DeNA BayStars to a 5-3 victory over the Hiroshima Carp, while the Yakult Swallows' win delayed the Central League leaders from clinching their third straight pennant.

The Carp, who entered the day with a magic number of one, needed to win or needed the second-place Swallows to lose in order to finally clinch the CL title. The Swallows overcame a two-run deficit to beat the Chunichi Dragons 7-4 in extra innings.

With CL home run rival Yoshihiro Maru in center field at Mazda Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo blasted a second-inning solo shot against Hiroshima starter Yuta Nakamura to give the BayStars an early lead.

In the fifth, Nakamura gave up back-to-back hits and Hiroki Minei doubled in the BayStars' second run. Nakamura got into a one-out, bases-loaded jam after issuing a walk, but a double play ended the threat.

Designated hitter Takahiro Arai put the Carp on the board in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer against DeNA reliever Edwin Escobar.

Hiroshima reliever Ryuji Ichioka gave up a walk and a hit in the sixth, and allowed an RBI single from Tomo Otosaka to make it 3-1.

Maru evened the score with Tsutsugo with a solo shot of his own against Shota Imanaga in the sixth. The sluggers remain tied at a league-high 38 home runs.

Seiya Suzuki followed up with a single and Ryuhei Matsuyama tied the game with an RBI triple, but Imanaga retired three straight batters to strand the first baseman.

Spencer Patton replaced Imanaga in the seventh following two strikeouts and two hits, but issued a walk to his first batter to load the bases. The former major league right-hander got Matsuyama to knock a grounder to second for the inning-ending out.

With a runner on first, Lopez took Geronimo Franzua (2-4) long and helped the BayStars move into a tie for third place with the Yomiuri Giants.

DeNA starter Yuki Kuniyoshi fanned two in 3-2/3 scoreless innings, while Patton (4-1) earned the win and Yasuaki Yamasaki picked up his 34th save for a perfect ninth.


Swallows 7, Dragons 4

At Nagoya Dome, RBI singles from Keiji Obiki and Tomotaka Sakaguchi sent the game into extra innings, and Tetsuto Yamada beat a throw at home plate for the go-ahead run in the 10th. Takeshi Miyamoto's two-run RBI single with the bases loaded added insurance as Yakult beat Chunichi and earned their third straight win.


Pacific League

Lions 4, Eagles 3

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Shogo Akiyama overturned the team's 2-0 lead with a ninth-inning grand slam as league-leading Seibu manufactured their second straight late win against Rakuten and lowered their magic number to five.


Hawks 8, Buffaloes 5

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Seiji Uebayashi led off with a homer against Donn Roach (2-3), and Yuki Yanagita's RBI triple sparked a four-run rally in the fifth to help SoftBank earn their seventh straight win. Alfredo Despaigne's two-run shot in the sixth sealed the victory. Yuito Mori set a Nippon Professional Baseball record for saving seven straight games.

After four straight losses, Orix lost the chance to advance to the playoffs.

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