Sheldon Neuse drove in five runs and rookie Shoki Murakami continued to impress on the mound for the Hanshin Tigers in a 6-3 Central League victory Tuesday over the Yakult Swallows.
Neuse's third-inning bases-loaded single opened the scoring for the league leaders at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium.
"I was looking for a good pitch to hit and hopefully get something in the air that would score one run," said Neuse, whose line drive instead got down to plate two.
Leading 3-2 after Tetsuto Yamada's two-run homer for the Swallows in the sixth, Neuse hit his fourth home run in Japan in the top of the seventh.
"It was good to be able to answer," Neuse said. "We had just given up two runs and gotten back into a close game. I got a good pitch to hit and didn't miss it."
Murakami (4-1), the CL's pitcher of the month for March and April, allowed two runs over six innings. He struck out seven and walked one while allowing four hits.
Forty-three-year-old Swallows lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1-2) gave up three runs in four-plus innings. He earned his 184th career win in his last start against the Tigers.
Elsewhere, the Chunichi Dragons came from a run down to snap a seven-game losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Hiroshima Carp, while the DeNA BayStars held off the Yomiuri Giants 6-3.
In the Pacific League, the Orix Buffaloes scored seven runs off Masahiro Tanaka (2-3) while getting seven shutout innings from rookie Shumpeita Yamashita (4-0) in an 8-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles, while Yuki Yanagita drove in three of the SoftBank Hawks' runs in a 4-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.