Naomichi Nishiura and Domingo Santana delivered two solo home runs on Tuesday for the Central League leaders Tokyo Yakult Swallows chasing Yomiuri Giants starter Yuki Takahashi at the start of a 3-2 win.
Yakult starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-5) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, stripping five strikes and walking none as he outscored winning leader CL Takahashi (11-7 ) at Jingu Stadium.
The Swallows sent Takahashi into the downpours with no outs in the bottom of the fourth after Nishiura exploded his fourth home run deep to the left and Santana threw the No.14 on the right for a 3-0 lead.
“As I started the round, I wanted to come back to base no matter what. With that in mind, I hit a home run, ”said Nishiura. “It was good to get off the bat and luckily it paid off.”
Munetaka Murakami gave Yakult the lead in third when he shot down to score Norichika Aoki from third.
Takumi Oshiro put the Giants on the board in the fifth with an RBI single and Hayato Sakamoto had another run in the sixth, scoring Akihiro Wakabayashi from first with a double.
Relievers Ryuta Konno and Noboru Shimizu each pitched a scoreless inning for Yakult before closest Scott McGough survived a nervous ninth for his 25th save.
With two outs and runners in the second and third, the US right-hander picked up an infielder from Zelous Wheeler and touched him on his way to the first to end the game.
The second-placed Hanshin Tigers remained one game behind after overtaking Yokohama DeNA BayStars 5-2 at Yokohama Stadium.
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, the Chunichi Dragons won a 4-3 victory over Hiroshima Carp after Shuhei Takahashi shot a goal from Yasunori Kikuchi in the bottom of the ninth.
In the Pacific League, the Orix Buffaloes beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 9-0, with Kotaro Kurebayashi, Yuma Mune and Steven Moya hitting homers at Kyocera Dome Osaka.
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Chiba Lotte Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa teamed up with three relievers to shut out the Saitama Seibu Lions 2-0.
At PayPay Dome, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles combined for 25 hits, including five homers, in a 7-7 tie.
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