Baseball: Tongu homers twice as Buffaloes trample Eagles

Yuma Tongu homered twice and drove in five runs for the Orix Buffaloes in their 8-3 Pacific League win over the Rakuten Eagles on Wednesday.

The victory at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi moved the defending PL champion Buffaloes to within one game of the second-place SoftBank Hawks, and moved them 2-1/2 games of the fourth-place Eagles, who lost their fourth straight.

Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima (9-3), pitching for the first time since Aug. 9, allowed three runs over seven innings while striking out eight.

Tongu tied the game 2-2 in the second with a two-run homer. With Orix trailing 3-2 in the third, Breyvic Valera singled in the tying run off Eagles starter Wataru Karashima (4-3). With two on and two outs, Tongu's seventh homer made it 6-3.

"Tajima was starting for the first time in a while, and though he gave up the first run, we all pulled together so we could get him the runs, and I'm glad he could get the win," Tongu said.

"The opposing starter keeps the ball down, so I wanted to look for a low pitch I could elevate and not ground out. The second time, I was just looking to swing at something good with a runner in scoring position."

Elsewhere in the PL, Go Matsumoto drove in three runs as the last-place Nippon Ham Fighters beat the league-leading Seibu Lions 4-2, while Hisanori Yasuda homered and drove in two runs in the Lotte Marines' 3-0 win over the Hawks, who trail Seibu by a half-game.

In the Central League, the second-place DeNA BayStars twice came from behind to edge the last-place Chunichi Dragons 3-2, while Mel Rojas Jr.'s tie-breaking sacrifice fly lifted the third-place Hanshin Tigers past the Hiroshima Carp 6-5.

© Kyodo News