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Baseball: Rookie comes through as Swallows sink Carp in 12 innings

Kazuya Maruyama of the Yakult Swallows hits a two-run double in the 12th inning of a Central League game against the Hiroshima Carp on June 30, 2022, at Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima, western Japan. (Kyodo)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Rookie Kazuya Maruyama broke a 12th-inning tie with a two-run double, lifting the Central League-leading Yakult Swallows to a 4-2 win over the Hiroshima Carp on Thursday.

    Before 24,100 at Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima twice came from a run down until Yakult put the game away in the 12th.

    Former Carp closer Shota Nakazaki (1-5) allowed the leadoff runner to reach on an error. After a groundout and a sacrifice, Hiroshima intentionally walked the league's hottest hitter, Munetaka Murakami.

    With the Carp outfield playing shallow to prevent a run from scoring on a single, Maruyama's routine fly went for a two-run double.

    "I'd made out in both of my previous at-bats, so I tried to put those failings out of my mind as I came to the plate and looked for something I could make contact on," Maruyama said.

    "Even when we give up runs, my reliable teammates exude a confidence that we will somehow come back."

    The Carp were able to muzzle Murakami for most of the game, striking him out in his first four at-bats before intentionally walking him twice.

    Hiroshima starter Drew Anderson passed his biggest test by striking out Murakami to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded. In the series' first two games, Murakami homered three times and drove in seven runs.

    Swallows lefty Kazuto Taguchi worked a 1-2-3 12th to earn his first save. Yakult's starter, 42-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa allowed a run over six innings, becoming the 28th player to pitch 3,000 innings in Japanese pro baseball.

    In the only other game, the DeNA BayStars scored twice in the ninth to beat the Hanshin Tigers 6-5 and move past them into fourth place in the CL.

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