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Baseball: Yanagita homers for 2nd day in row as Hawks beat Buffaloes

The SoftBank Hawks' Yuki Yanagita hits a go-ahead solo home run in a Pacific League game against the Orix Buffaloes at PayPay Dome in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, on May 4, 2022. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Yuki Yanagita homered for the second day in a row on Wednesday, delivering the go-ahead run with a seventh inning solo blast as the SoftBank Hawks held off the Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes 2-1.

    A day after lifting the Hawks to a 7-3 win with his grand slam, Yanagita was once again the hero for the home side at Fukuoka's PayPay Dome.

    With two out and the score deadlocked 1-1, he sent right-hander Taisuke Kondo's first pitch, a 151-kilometer-per-hour fastball, high over the fence behind left.

    Yanagita's RBI double gave the Hawks the opening run in the bottom of the first. Orix tied it in the second after Keita Nakagawa tripled, then came home on Yuma Tongu's sacrifice fly.

    SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama (3-1) got the win after going seven innings deep, while Kondo (1-1) was charged with the loss.

    SoftBank manager Hiroshi Fujimoto lauded the clutch hitting of Yanagita, who finished 2-for-4 and registered his fourth home run of the season.

    "He has been hitting in big moments, so it's fantastic," Fujimoto said. "His game-winning home runs have been invaluable."

    Elsewhere in the PL, the Lotte Marines jumped out to a big early lead before weathering a comeback in their 7-5 victory over the Seibu Lions, while the first-place Rakuten Eagles were too strong for the Nippon Ham Fighters, winning 5-1.

    In the Central League, Kazuma Okamoto launched his league-leading 11th home run, a three-run shot, for the first-place Yomiuri Giants in a 6-3 win against the Hiroshima Carp.

    Shugo Maki belted a three-run homer for the DeNA BayStars, who hammered the Chunichi Dragons 7-1, while the reigning Japan Series champion Yakult Swallows blanked the Hanshin Tigers 3-0.

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