Baseball: Rookie comes through while Swallows sinks Carp in 12 innings

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Kazuya Maruyama of the Yakult Swallows scores a two-run double in the 12th inning of a Central League game against the Hiroshima Carp at Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima, western Japan on June 30, 2022. (kyodo)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) — Rookie Kazuya Maruyama broke a tie in the 12th inning with a two-run double to propel the Central League-toppers Yakult Swallows to a 4-2 win over the Hiroshima Carp on Thursday .

Before 24,100 at Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima twice got out of a rundown until Yakult decided the game in the 12th game.

Former carp closer Shota Nakazaki (1-5) allowed the leadoff runner to reach due to an error. After a groundout and sacrifice, Hiroshima purposely went against the league’s hottest hitter, Munetaka Murakami.

While Carp outfield played flat to prevent a run from scoring with a single, Maruyama’s routine fly opted for a two-run double.

“I’d been making out in my previous two at-bats, so I was trying to get those mistakes out of my head as I got to the plate and was looking for something to contact,” Maruyama said.

“Even though we’re giving up runs, my trusty teammates exude confidence that somehow we’ll come back.”

The Carps were able to muzzle Murakami for most of the match, beating him in his first four at-bats before intentionally walking him twice.

Hiroshima starter Drew Anderson passed his greatest test by defeating Murakami to finish the sixth inning with loaded bases. In the first two games of the series, Murakami netted three times and drove in seven runs.

Swallow’s lefty Kazuto Taguchi made his first save with a 1-2-3 12th. Yakult’s starter, 42-year-old left winger Masanori Ishikawa, conceded a six-inning run to become the 28th player to pitch 3,000 innings in Japanese professional baseball.

In the only other game, the DeNA BayStars scored twice in the ninth to beat the Hanshin Tigers 6-5 and move past them to fourth place in the CL.

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