Baseball: WBC teammates Okamoto, Togo lead Giants past Marines

Kazuma Okamoto homered twice and Samurai Japan teammate Shosei Togo worked eight innings to get the Central League's Yomiuri Giants past the Pacific League-leading Lotte Marines 7-4 Wednesday in interleague.

At Chiba's Zozo Marine Stadium east of Tokyo, Okamoto tied the game 1-1 in the second with his 10th home run of the season and broke a 4-4 tie in the eighth with a two-run homer. He also singled and walked.

Togo (6-1) allowed six hits and three walks while striking out seven. Two of the three home runs he surrendered left the park in the sixth inning, when the Marines scored three to tie it 4-4.

Former Giant C.C. Mercedes started for the Marines but allowed four runs in five innings, surrendering homers to Okamoto and Hayato Sakamoto. The Giants clinched it in the eighth when Okamoto homered off former Giants reliever Hirokazu Sawamura (3-2).

"Togo was doing his best and he usually carries us, but tonight I was able to help him out," Okamoto said. "It was a lot of fun playing against those guys (my former teammates)."

Sho Nakata followed with his eighth home run to complete the scoring, and another World Baseball Classic winner for Japan, closer Taisei Ota, worked the ninth for his 10th save.

Elsewhere, Gosuke Kato hit the first two top-flight home runs of his career to help the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 5-2 victory over the two-time defending CL champion Yakult Swallows, who lost their 12th straight decision.

The CL-leading Hanshin Tigers had their nine-game win streak snapped in a 4-0 loss to the Seibu Lions. At the other end of the CL standings, the Chunichi Dragons beat the SoftBank Hawks 7-1 to climb out of last place.

Masahiro Tanaka (3-3) won his first game since April 14 as the Rakuten Eagles beat the CL's DeNA BayStars 3-1, while the PL's Orix Buffaloes fell to the Hiroshima Carp by the same score.

© Kyodo News