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Baseball: Akiyama bats Lions past Fighters

TOKOROZAWA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Shogo Akiyama drove in two runs to give the Seibu Lions the lead in a 4-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League on Tuesday.

    Akiyama turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded single off starter Bryan Rodriguez.

    "I was just focused on hitting at any cost," Akiyama said. "We need to keep taking one game at a time. We just need to keep preparing for them as they come."

    Shuta Tonosaki led off the fifth with a single and reached third on a throwing error by third baseman Kensuke Kondo. Rodriguez loaded the bases with a walk before Akiyama's two-run single put the home team on the scoreboard at MetLife Dome.

    Right-hander Zach Neal (7-1) picked up the win. He allowed a run on three hits and two walks, while striking out two over six solid innings. He surrendered a first-inning leadoff home run to Haruki Nishikawa, but retired the next nine. After putting two on to start the Fighters' fourth, Neal retired six more in a row.

    Rodriguez (6-4) started in solid shape, limiting the hard-hitting Lions to one hit and two walks over the first four innings.

    Hotaka Yamakawa singled in a run in the sixth to extend Seibu's lead to two runs. Fumikazu Kimura added the home team's final run in the eighth. Tonosaki, who had a hand in three of the Lions' runs, doubled with two outs in the eighth and scored on Kimura's single.

    Ryo Watanabe tripled and scored in the seventh, but it was not enough for the Fighters to come from behind.

    Elsewhere in the PL, Katsuya Kakunaka doubled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on a Takashi Ogino double as the Lotte Marines beat the Rakuten Eagles 7-3 at Zozo Marine Stadium. Hiromi Oka put the game out of reach with an eighth-inning, three-run home run.

    In the Central League, Christopher Mercedes (8-6) pitched five-plus innings and four relievers threw an inning each in the Yomiuri Giants' 2-1 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome. Yoshihiro Maru singled in a first-inning run and scored the Giants' second on a delayed two-out double steal.

    At Kyocera Dome, Seiya Kinami drew a bases-loaded walk to open the scoring before Kosuke Fukudome hit a three-run double in the fifth to lead the Hanshin Tigers to a 8-0 victory over the DeNA BayStars.

    At Mazda Stadium, Takumi Miyoshi's two-out RBI single capped a four-run, ninth-inning rally and lifted the Hiroshima Carp to a 9-8 walk-off win over the Yakult Swallows.

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