Lions' dramatic comeback downs Eagles

 
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TOKOROZAWA, Japan, Aug. 18 (22:14) Kyodo

 
(EDS: CHANGES DATELINE, ADDS NIGHT GAMES)

The Seibu Lions overturned a three-run, ninth-inning deficit to
beat the Pacific League-leading Rakuten Eagles 12-11 on Sunday.

Takumi Kuriyama's two-run sayonara single off Eagles closer
Darrell Rasner (1-2) capped a wild slugfest at Seibu Dome in Saitama
Prefecture. Trailing by a run with two outs and runners at second and
third, the Lions' captain singled to right.

Yuji Onizaki scored the winning run from second in a home-plate
collision that jarred the ball loose from Eagles catcher Motohiro
Shima.

It was the second straight night in which the Lions walked off
winners after a play at the plate.

Kazuo Matsui and Casey McGehee each hit a three-run homer for
the visitors in the late innings to put the Eagles in the driver's
seat, but Rasner could not get out of the ninth after loading the
bases with no outs.

Matsui, Seibu's biggest star at the time he moved to the major
leagues in 2004, tied the game 8-8 in the seventh with his ninth home
run of the year.

McGehee, who had already driven in one run and scored another,
followed suit in the eighth off Randy Williams. Lions right-hander
Tatsushi Masuda (2-2) worked a scoreless ninth to earn the win in
relief.

The loss saw the Eagles' lead over the second-place Lotte
Marines shrink to 4-1/2 games.

"The pitchers gave up a lot of runs, and the fielders, including
myself, made some mistakes," said Kuriyama, whose inability to hold
on to a tricky fly in left field resulted in an Eagles run in the
third. "But we have to pick each other up and we did that in the end."

Rasner had to retire the bottom of the Lions' order to earn his
save and on a night when few pitchers had consistent command, he
couldn't get it done.

"It looked like a very steep hill to climb for the tail end of
the order," Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe said. "But they never
quit and put together a rally in baby steps."

Yutaro Osaki led off with a single, and pinch-hitter Masato
Kumashiro lined a single to center to bring the tying run to the
plate with no outs.

Ginjiro Sumitani loaded the bases with a flare to right for a
single and Onizaki drew a bases-loaded walk. Esteban German, whose
second-inning grand slam had been the big blow of the game until the
Eagles' late fireworks, followed with a single that drove in another
run and put the winning run at second.

After a double play with the infield in, Onizaki barreled around
the bases on Kuriyama's single to right fielder Takero Okajima. The
outfielder threw a strike, but failed for the second straight night
to throw out the winning run at the plate.

PL batting leader Ginji Akaminai broke the ice with a two-run,
first-inning double off Seibu right-hander Takayuki Kishi, but the
Lions turned the game on its head in a six-run second against Brandon
Duckworth.

Sumitani and Onizaki tied the game with back-to-back, no-out,
bases-loaded singles, and German followed with his second home run of
the season, a grand slam over the center-field fence.

McGehee's one-out single, a sinking liner Kuriyama failed to
hang on to, in the third drove home Akaminai from second to trim the
Lions' lead to 6-3.

But Duckworth's command wasn't good enough to keep Seibu off the
scoreboard as Onizaki chased him with a two-out double that left two
men in scoring position.

Duckworth was charged with seven earned runs on seven hits, a
walk and a hit batsman. He struck out four, although one of those
batters reached on a wild pitch and came around to score.

Kishi, who had won his last five starts, gave up four runs in
five innings. He was set up for the win before Matsui spoiled that
scenario.

-----

Hawks 7, Fighters 2

At Obihiro-no-Mori Stadium, right-hander Edison Barrios, who
Softbank signed from the Kansai Independent League last year, won his
PL debut, allowing two runs in five innings in a win over Nippon Ham.

Seiichi Uchikawa drew first blood with a first-inning RBI single
off 2012 PL MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa (6-11), and Yuya Hasegawa put the
game away with three RBIs.

Fighters rookie Shohei Otani started in right field and pitched
a scoreless eighth inning. He went 1-for-4 with a single.

-----

Marines 3, Buffaloes 1

At QVC Marine Field, Lotte lefty Takuya Furuta (6-1) allowed a
run in 5-1/3 innings to win his sixth straight decision behind a
couple of RBIs from Taichi Suzuki and another by veteran catcher
Tomoya Satozaki.

Furuya, having a breakout season as a starter at the age of 32,
allowed three hits, a walk and hit a batter while striking out four.
Closer Naoya Masuda worked a scoreless ninth to record his PL-leading
28th save.

-----

Central League

Dragons 10, Giants 4

At Tokyo Dome, Ryosuke Hirata homered for the third straight
game and drove in four runs as Chunichi beat CL-leading Yomiuri to
take the rubber match of their three-game series.

Daisuke Yamai (5-4) allowed three runs, two earned, in seven
innings to pick up the win. The Dragons bludgeoned rookie
right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano (10-4) for seven runs in 2-1/3 innings
at Tokyo Dome.

-----

BayStars 6, Carp 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani's fourth home run in four
games, a three-run blast in the second inning broke a 1-1 tie as DeNA
came from behind to defeat Hiroshima behind eight innings of two-run
ball from Yuki Yoshiguni (2-0).

The 21-year-old right-hander gave up six hits, walked two and
hit a batter, while striking out five. The pitcher put the game out
of reach with a two-run, fourth-inning single.

-----

Tigers 6, Swallows 2

At Kyocera Dome, marquee rookie Shintaro Fujinami (9-4) allowed
two runs in six innings to earn the win as Hanshin sent Yakult to its
fourth straight defeat.

The Tigers came from a run down in the second inning, when
Takahiro Arai tied it with a solo homer and Hanshin got RBI singles
from Kentaro Sekimoto and Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
 


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