HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Yoshihiro Maru opened the scoring for the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants on Thursday to spark a 5-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp and help claim the three-game series.
Maru went 2-for-4 and hit a two-out RBI single in the first inning at Mazda Stadium to neutralize Hiroshima starter Tayler Scott (0-3) and get the Giants on the board early in the race for the top two spots ahead of the postseason.
"I was trying to be aggressive. I thought it might have been misthrown, so I swung on the first ball," said Maru, who connected on the first pitch he saw from former major leaguer Scott.
Hayato Sakamoto added an RBI double in the third and Naoki Yoshikawa made it 4-0 with a two-run single in the fourth. The Giants were backed by seven solid innings from Angel Sanchez, who improved to 6-3 in his first season with the Tokyo-based club.
Ryuhei Matsuyama's two-run homer in the fourth narrowed the gap for the Carp before the sixth when Zelous Wheeler drove in Maru, who led off the inning with a double.
Scott, aiming for his first victory in Japan, allowed four runs on four hits and four walks.
At Koshien Stadium, Minoru Iwata (1-0) outdueled Yariel Rodriguez (2-3) and earned his first win of 2020 after pitching 6-2/3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits and striking out five in the Hanshin Tigers' 2-0 shutout of the Chunichi Dragons.
At Yokohama Stadium, the Yakult Swallows beat the DeNA BayStars 2-0 and rose to fifth place in the six-team division. Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1) tossed seven scoreless innings and got his first win since 2015, when he played for the Tigers.
In the Pacific League, Shuta Ishikawa (7-3) picked up his first win since Aug. 23 thanks to seventh-inning efforts from Ryoya Kurihara and Takuya Kai in the SoftBank Hawks' 4-1 come-from-behind win over the Rakuten Eagles at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Hotaka Yamakawa overturned the host's lead with a two-run homer in the eighth as the Seibu Lions came from behind to beat the Orix Buffaloes 7-6. Lions reliever Tetsu Miyagawa (1-1) earned his first professional win for working a scoreless seventh.
At Sapporo Dome, Toshihiro Sugiura (6-3) allowed a run over six innings as the Nippon Ham Fighters ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Lotte Marines.