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Baseball: Romero, Nakajima propel Buffaloes to big comeback win over Lions

Ninth-inning walk-off home run by Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Orix Buffaloes against the Seibu Lions at Kyocera Dome on Sept. 1, 2018 (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Two home runs from Stefen Romero and a ninth-inning walk-off blast from Hiroyuki Nakajima lifted the Orix Buffaloes to a 10-8 come-from-behind win over the Seibu Lions on Saturday.

Lions closer Deunte Heath (3-1), who had not allowed a run since July 18, surrendered a leadoff single to Romero in the ninth. Masataka Yoshida, who had doubled in the second inning and scored the game's first run, doubled to put the winning run in scoring position.

Nakajima, who spent most of his pro career with the Lions, hit Heath's first pitch just over the wall in left for his third home run of the season.

"I was intent on deciding the game there," Nakajima said. "I thought I ended the game when I hit it and started running, and I'm happy, too, that it was a home run. It was a first for me."

The Lions battered starter Donn Roach for five runs over three innings, and tacked on two more against reliever Keisuke Sawada in the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. But the visitors wasted two-on, one-out scoring opportunities in the fifth and sixth and ended up paying the price.

The game still appeared well in hand for Seibu after starter Ken Togame's six innings. Lefty Shogo Noda came on in the seventh, however, and surrendered two more runs.

Yuma Mune led off with a pinch-hit double and scored on Ryo Nishimura's pinch-hit sacrifice fly. With two outs, Romero blasted a monstrous shot off Noda for his 20th home run, making it an 8-5 game.

"(The crowd) gives us a little extra motivation, especially in the ninth inning," Romero said. "We're never out of it. Guys came up clutch and Nakaji hit it out in the ninth."

"I was just trying to put a good swing on it and get on base, and I hit it really good."

Lions right-hander Kyle Martin walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, and Takahiro Okada took him out to left to make it a one-run game. The opposite-field home run was Okada's 11th of the season and his first since June 28.


Fighters 4, Marines 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Takuya Nakashima went 3-for-4 and scored twice. He doubled to open the ninth inning and scored on Kensuke Kondo's sacrifice fly to break a 3-3 tie as Nippon Ham outlasted Lotte.


Hawks 4, Eagles 3, 10 innings

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Seiji Uebayashi's 18th home run broke a 10th-inning tie after Zelous Wheeler's second home run of the game had tied it 3-3 in the eighth. Shota Takeda, pitching out of the bullpen for his second straight game, earned his first career save as SoftBank beat Rakuten.


Central League

Giants 5, Dragons 5, 12 innings

At Nagoya Dome, Nobumasa Fukuda's two-run double capped Chunichi's four-run seventh inning to tie the game, and his ninth-inning sacrifice fly tied it again with Yomiuri in a game declared a tie after 12 innings.


Carp 8, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Daichi Osera (15-5) allowed an unearned run over seven innings, while Ryoma Nishikawa had three hits, scored a run and drove in three in Hiroshima's win over second-place Yakult.


Tigers 8, BayStars 3

At Koshien Stadium, Kosuke Fukudome singled, doubled, homered and drove in four runs, while Hanshin hammered DeNA rookie Masaya Kyoyama (5-5) for five runs over three innings.

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