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Baseball: BayStars take Round 1 in CL top-of-table clash with Giants

Jose Lopez of the DeNA BayStars (Kyodo)

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) -- Jose Lopez hit a tie-breaking, two-run double off his former team, lifting the second-place DeNA BayStars to a 4-2 win over the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants on Friday night.

Trailing by a run in the sixth, Neftali Soto doubled in Takehiro Ishikawa to tie it with one out against Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, whose command was suddenly suspect. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, whose fourth-inning homer put the BayStars on the board, walked to bring Lopez up with the bases loaded.

The former Giant put a good swing on a low pitch from Sugano and hustled into second for a double that scored Toshiro Miyazaki and Soto.

Low-velocity DeNA side-armer Kentaro Taira (4-2) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win after Edwin Escobar, Spencer Patton and Yasuaki Yamasaki each came out of the bullpen to put a scoreless inning on the board.

Painting the bottom of the zone with a wide variety of breaking pitches, including a nasty screwball, Taira struck out nine while walking none and allowing four hits.

"I was focused on pitching my kind of game, keeping the ball low," Taira said. "Before the game, Soto said he'd hit for me. So that was pretty amazing. Chamo-san (Lopez) said he would, too. I want to thank you guys for getting me a win."

Sugano (8-5) allowed six hits and a walk, while striking out nine.

The win at Yokohama Stadium moved the BayStars to within 2-1/2 games of the Giants, who opened the scoring on a Yoshihiro Maru homer in the first inning. Two ground singles that found their way around Soto at second base in the fourth inning set up a Kazuma Okamoto sacrifice fly.

Elsewhere in the CL, Daichi Osera (8-6) threw a five-hit shutout and Xavier Batista hit a grand slam as the third-place Hiroshima Carp beat the Hanshin Tigers 7-0 at Mazda Stadium to move within three games of the league lead.

At Jingu Stadium, Yota Kyoda squeezed home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning in the Chunichi Dragons' 5-4 win over the Yakult Swallows.

In the Pacific League, Kodai Senga (10-4) struck out eight and walked five but allowed just two hits in his first shutout of the season as the league-leading SoftBank Hawks beat the second-place Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0 at Sapporo Dome to widen their lead to 2-1/2 games.

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Manabu Mima (7-3) allowed an unearned run over six innings as the Rakuten Eagles beat the Lotte Marines 5-2.

At Kyocera Dome, Ryoichi Adachi's two-run, fifth-inning single capped a four-run inning and the scoring in the Orix Buffaloes' 9-8 win over the Seibu Lions.

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