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Baseball: Imamiya, Matsuda bat Hawks past Buffaloes

Kenta Imamiya of the SoftBank Hawks hits a two-run homer during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Orix Buffaloes in Osaka, on Aug. 19, 2018. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Kenta Imamiya equalized early and later drove in the go-ahead runs that sparked a ninth-inning charge as the SoftBank Hawks rallied to an 8-4 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Making his third career start, SoftBank rookie Kotaro Otake retired his first two batters at Kyocera Dome but got into a bases-loaded jam and gave up a run after yielding a second straight walk.

In the third, Taisei Makihara singled against Orix lefty Takahiro Matsuba and reached second on a groundout, and Imamiya bounced a double against the center field wall to drive in the tying run.

A four-inning standstill was broken in the eighth, when

Shuhei Fukuda, pinch-running for Yurisbel Gracial after the Cuban singled against Orix reliever Yoshinobu Yamamoto to lead off the inning, stole second and was driven home by Nobuhiro Matsuda's double to left center.

Orix equalized in the home half of the inning as Masataka Yoshida singled and reached second on a wild pitch from SoftBank reliever Ren Kajiya (3-1), and Chris Marrero drove in the outfielder with a line drive to left.

But in the ninth, a misthrow by Nobuyoshi Yamada (1-1) to first and a sac bunt allowed Makihara to get in scoring position and set up Imamiya, whose home run gave the visitors a 4-2 lead.

Yamada was replaced by righty Mamoru Kishida after giving up a double and a walk, and Matsuda's second RBI double of the game made it 6-2. Hiroaki Takaya drove in Matsuda, and Makihara capped the late rally with an RBI single as the Hawks batted around.

Ryota Igarashi gave up two runs in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by Yuito Mori, who retired the two batters he faced to seal the win for SoftBank.


Marines 8, Eagles 7

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Lotte overturned a 6-0, seventh-inning deficit with a three-run eighth and a five-run ninth, scoring five runs off Rakuten closer Frank Herrmann (2-2).


Lions 7, Fighters 4

At Metlife Dome, Hideto Asamura hit his 24th and 25th home runs, a first-inning, game-tying solo shot and a seventh-inning grand slam that brought league-leading Seibu from a run down to beat second-place Nippon Ham.


Central League

Giants 6, Dragons 5

At Tokyo Dome, Casey McGehee capped a five-hit, five-run ninth-inning rally with a walk-off RBI single as Yomiuri came back to beat Chunichi. The Dragons wasted a one-run, seven-inning start from 20-year-old right-hander Kento Fujishima.


Swallows 8, Tigers 5

At Jingu Stadium, Wladimir Balentien scored twice, drove in three runs to power Yakult past Hanshin. He became the second foreign-born player after Tuffy Rhodes to hit 30 home runs in seven different seasons and reached 100 RBIs for the second time.


Carp 9, BayStars 7

At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshihiro Maru's two runs and three RBIs paced league-leading Hiroshima as the Carp battered DeNA starter Shota Imanaga (3-7) for seven runs in 3-1/3 innings.

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