Koki Ugusa ignites carp with great victory over fighting giants

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Rookie Koki Ugusa sparked a four-run first inning with a leadoff home run and fourth-placed Central League fourth-placed Hiroshima Carp held on Saturday to beat the third-placed Yomiuri Giants 8-7.

The Tokyo Dome win kept Carp’s hopes of claiming a playoff spot alive as they moved up to three games on the Giants with eight games remaining.

Winner of the CL’s last two Batter of the Month Awards, Seiya Suzuki made his 36th home run and scored two goals, while Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled, homed, scored two goals and drove three for the Carp who drove Giants starter Yuki Takahashi ( 11th) defeated -9) in the first inning.

“Seiya advised me to be ready after the first good pitch and just swing like I do in training,” said Ugusa, who hit Takahashi’s second pitch for his third home run.

Carp starter Masato Morishita (8-7) went 8-0 into the seventh, but served Zelous Wheeler, his 14th, a lead-off homer in an inning with five runs.

However, three relievers prevented the Giants from equalizing the score, although Wheeler doubled with two outs in the ninth off-rookie seamstress Ryoji Kuribayashi, who recorded his 34th save.

At Jingu Stadium, Dayan Viciedo’s two-man single with two runs for the Chunichi Dragons won a 5-3 win against the first-placed Tokyo Yakult Swallows in the fifth inning. Yakult’s magic number to get her first pennant since 2015 stayed at six.

At the Sapporo Dome, Steven Moya’s RBI single in the eighth inning got the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes out of control after a 1-1 draw with the last-placed Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Yuki Yanagita crowned a second five-run inning with a triple home run, and fourth-place Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks held second-placed Chiba Lotte Marines 10-4.

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Hiroaki Shimauchi hit a home run with two runs in the first inning and three pitchers from the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles combined a six-goal with a 3-0 shutout by the Saitama Seibu Lions. The Eagles’ victory kept them five games ahead of the Hawks in the battle for the final PL playoff spot.

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