Baseball: Yanagita's hometown homer helps Hawks past Carp

Yuki Yanagita had a blast in his hometown, belting a two-run home run to help the visiting SoftBank Hawks to a 5-1 interleague victory Friday over the Hiroshima Carp.

The Hawks' 34-year-old big wheel made it a 3-1 game in the sixth inning at Mazda Stadium with his ninth home run of the season as the visitors evened their interleague record at 2-2.

Yanagita also doubled and had an infield single that contributed to a two-run eighth inning, and said the home run was his first in Hiroshima since he went deep off former Carp ace Hiroki Kuroda in 2016.

"This (home run) was special," Yanagita said. "I lived in this town for 20-plus years, so it's special (to win) here."

SoftBank lost its starting pitcher at the start of the second inning, when Hiroshima's Ryan McBroom hit a smash off the pitching hand of former Chicago Cubs lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.

The 42-year-old Wada had won three straight decisions, and a win in Hiroshima would have tied him for the most career interleague victories with Yakult Swallows lefty Masanori Ishikawa with 27, but said the record was not his priority.

"I'm not that concerned with it, but it's good if it makes other people happy," Wada said.

Reliever Yugo Bando (2-0) took over from Wada and allowed the Carp to load the bases in the second but worked three scoreless innings to earn the win.

Akira Nakamura put SoftBank in front in the third when the second of his four singles plated the game's first run. McBroom accounted for Hiroshima's only run with his season's fifth homer.

On an evening when rain across much of Japan washed out three games, the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters improved to 3-1 in interleague, crushing the Yomiuri Giants 8-2. The Central League's Chunichi Dragons also improved to 3-1, walking it off against the two-time defending PL champion Orix Buffaloes 2-1 in 11 innings.

© Kyodo News