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Baseball: Costly error keeps Carp alive as CL-leading Swallows crash

Tsubasa Aizawa of the Hiroshima Carp hits a two-run double against the Yakult Swallows in their Central League game at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium on Oct. 21, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A three-run error triggered a seven-run inning and sparked the fourth-place Hiroshima Carp to an 11-7 win over the Central League-leading Yakult Swallows that threw the pennant race into confusion on Thursday.

    Hiroshima's win at Jingu Stadium kept their slim playoff hopes alive and threw a lifeline to the second-place Hanshin Tigers, whose pennant prospects looked all but over last weekend.

    Trailing 6-3 in the seventh inning, the Carp got two on with no outs against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (5-9). Swallows center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi charged a hard smash up the middle from rookie Koki Ugusa but failed to stop it. The ball rolled to the warning track allowing both base runners and Ugusa to score and tie the game.

    Kaito Kozono singled to chase Taguchi, and after getting one out, new pitcher Albert Suarez surrendered three straight hits. Shogo Sakakura singled in the tie-breaking run and a Ryosuke Kikuchi flare plated one more.

    With two outs, Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa, whose single led off the inning, drove a ball just far enough to get over Yakult's drawn-in outfield for a two-run double.

    The Carp took a 3-1 lead against Yakult right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa, but the Swallows knocked out Hiroshima ace Daichi Osera with five runs in the fourth and appeared to be cruising toward victory -- until they suddenly weren't.

    At Koshien Stadium, lefty Haruto Takahashi (4-2) struck out nine over eight scoreless innings as the Tigers beat the Chunichi Dragons 6-1.

    At Kyocera Dome Osaka, rookie lefty Hiroya Miyagi (13-4) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings as the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes inched closer to their franchise's first pennant since 1996 by holding off the Seibu Lions 3-2.

    At PayPay Dome, closer Yuito Mori allowed two ninth-inning runs to spoil eight scoreless innings from Nick Martinez as the fourth-place SoftBank Hawks blew a late lead in their 2-2 tie with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

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