Baseball: Murakami lifts Swallows past Buffaloes in series rematch


Munetaka Murakami of the Yakult Swallows scores a singles tie in the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game against the Orix Buffaloes at the Kyocera Dome Osaka in the western Japan city on June 8, 2022. (kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) — Munetaka Murakami made up for a base-running error by scoring a crucial run in the Yakult Swallows’ leading Central League leader’s 6-3 interleague win over the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday scored

The Swallows came off two heats leading up to their three-game streak at the Osaka Dome against the Buffaloes, whom they defeated in the Japan Series last year.

Murakami, down 2-0 in the fourth, doubled to set up Yakult’s first run but then hesitated on bases and was substituted off. In third with an out, he started home with a fly-out to the left, but then attempted to return to third only to be caught in a rundown.

The Swallows drew 3-3 in game five against new import Jacob Waguespeck in Kotaro Yamasaki’s RBI single with two away games. And while Orix’s bullpen looked fragile, Swallows’s proved rock solid.

Tetsuto Yamada, running and scoring in fourth place, doubled to open Yakult’s eighth game against rookie Hitomi Honda (1-1) and scored on Murakami’s third of the game.

“I wanted to hit behind the runner and get him into third place, and because of my previous base running mistake, I was pretty intense trying to make it up to you,” Murakami said of his RBI single.

He then stole second place and scored with a sack fly from third before Yasutaka hit Shiomi in ninth to ice him.

Four Swallows reliefs played scoreless innings, with Ryuta Konno (1-1) earning the win with a perfect seventh and Scott McGough making his 18th save with two one-outs.

The win put the Swallows five games ahead of the CL’s second-placed Yomiuri Giants, who managed just one hit in their 3-0 loss to the Seibu Lions on a night when the Swallows were the only CL winners.

Elsewhere, the PL-leading SoftBank Hawks defeated the Hanshin Tigers 1-0, the Nippon Ham Fighters won 5-3 over the DeNA BayStars, the Lotte Marines defeated the Chunichi Dragons 9-6, and the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Hiroshima Carp 1-0 in 10 innings.


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