The Hanshin Tigers rallied for a 5-2 victory to complete a weekend sweep of the Yakult Swallows on Sunday night in front of their hometown fans at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo. The win moves the Tigers to within six games of the Swallows atop the Central League.
The Tigers rallied from a 2-0 hole in the third when leadoff hitter Keichi Hirano and second baseman Hiroki Uemoto connected for back-to-back singles with one out. Swallows starter Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi then walked shortstop Takeshi Toritani before striking out third baseman Takahiro Arai to seemingly escape the jam. But first baseman Craig Brazzel cleared the bases with a towering double off the center field fence to put the home team up to stay. The Tigers completed the scoring in the fifth inning when Arai connected for a two-run homer off Swallows reliever Kenichi Matsuoka.
Elsewhere in the Central League, Yomiuri extended its winning streak to five games with a 5-3 win over Hiroshima, while Yokohama shut out Chunichi, 2-0, in a matchup of the league’s worst teams. In the Pacific League, first place Softbank clobbered last place Seibu, 8-1, and Nippon Ham trounced Rakuten by the same score. In Chiba, Orix beat Lotte, 7-2, to give coach Akinobu Okada his 500th career victory.© Japan Today