Baseball: Tongu, Sugimoto homers power Buffaloes over Tigers

Yuma Tongu and Yutaro Sugimoto belted ninth-inning solo home runs to bring the two-time defending Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes from behind in a 3-2 interleague win Thursday over the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers.

Trailing 2-1 with one out against Tigers closer Atsuki Yuasa (0-2) at Hyogo Prefecture's Koshien Stadium near Osaka, Tongu tied it with his fifth home run of the season.

With two outs, Sugimoto, the PL's 2021 home run leader, hit his 10th off a 3-2 pitch, a mammoth blast that landed well up into the venerable ballpark's left-field stands.

"I went to the plate relaxed because Tongu had homered for us," Sugimoto said. "It really carried."

Jacob Waguespack (3-3) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win, and Yoshihisa Hirano pitched the ninth to record his ninth save.

Tongu made it 1-0 Buffaloes in the fourth when he singled in Tomoya Mori. The Tigers, however, came back with two runs in the home half, tying it on an error and taking the lead on an RBI single by starting pitcher Masashi Ito.

The CL's Yomiuri Giants also won, coming from behind to beat the Seibu Lions 3-2 for their fifth straight victory.

© Kyodo News