Yusuke Oyama and rookie Takumu Nakano powered a dramatic comeback, propelling the second-place Hanshin Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants on Friday.
The Tigers, who now trail the Giants in winning percentage .578 to .576, were behind 3-0 in the fifth against right-hander Shosei Togo (8-6), who retired the first 15 Hanshin hitters he faced.
Oyama broke Togo's hitless run at Koshien Stadium with a one-out single and scored on Yoshio Itoi's pinch-hit double.
"I got behind in the count but got the bat on the ball and I'm glad that led to a run," Oyama said.
Oyama tied it 3-3 with a two-run bases-loaded double that chased Togo from the mound. With two outs and the bases loaded, Nakano struck the decisive blow, driving a 3-2 slider from reliever Ryusei Oe that rolled around the right-field corner and cleared the bases.
"That whole at-bat I was waiting for a slider, but got fastballs and fell behind in the count just like that. But my desire to get a hit was really strong and I'm happy I was able to do that," Nakano said.
Oyama added an RBI single in the eighth to complete the scoring.
Togo allowed five runs over 6-1/3 innings in which he struck out six, walked one and gave up six hits. Tigers starter Yuki Nishi allowed three runs over six innings.
At Tokyo Dome, Albert Suarez (4-3) worked 5-1/3 scoreless innings and Yasutaka Shiomi hit a first-inning leadoff home run as the third-place Yakult Swallows beat the Hiroshima Carp 3-1 to move to within 1-1/2 games of the Giants.
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Kosuke Fukudome drove in the only run and Yudai Ono (5-8) and two relievers combined on a six-hit shutout as the Chunichi Dragons beat the DeNA BayStars 1-0.
At PayPay Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12-5) allowed an eighth-inning run but earned the win after Adam Jones' ninth-inning RBI single lifted the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes to a 2-1 win over the fourth-place SoftBank Hawks.
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, missing closer Yuki Matsui, Rakuten Eagles reliever Sung Chia-hao (1-3) allowed four ninth-inning runs as the third-place Rakuten Eagles fell to the Seibu Lions 8-4. Lions outfielder Takumi Kuriyama had one hit, leaving him one shy of Japan's iconic 2,000-hit milestone.
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Yudai Fujioka's tie-breaking eighth-inning RBI single helped lift the second-place Lotte Marines past the last-place Nippon Ham Fighters 7-5.