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Friday, Sep. 30, 2011

Kawabata delivers as Swallows take down Tigers

Staff writer

Shingo Kawabata did it again. So did the Swallows.

News photo
Double team: Yakult's Norichika Aoki (right) and Keizo Kawashima celebrate scoring on a two-run double by Shingo Kawabata against the Tigers on Thursday. KYODO PHOTO

Left-handed 23-year-old hitter Kawabata came up with a go-ahead two-run double in the Swallows' four-run eighth inning as Tokyo Yakult sank the Hanshin Tigers 7-4 at Jingu Stadium on Thursday night.

With the win, the Central League-leading Swallows extended their winning streak to four. It was Hanshin's fourth consecutive loss.

"I was completely held in the previous at-bats, so I was looking for nothing but a changeup," Kawabata, who hit a go-ahead grand slam in an 8-4 win in the series opener on Tuesday, said of his game-winning RBI hit.

"And it came low, where I like to hit. So I just swung at it hard and then it was just gone."

The Swallows swept the Tigers in the series, all with come-from-victories.

"We were able to rally from behind in each game," Kawabata said. "We're a confident bunch right now and the team actually got me on the roll at the at-bat (in the eighth)."

Yakult made a jump start as CL home run leader Wladimir Balentien launched a three-run shot, his 30th of the season, off Hanshin starter Atsushi Nomi in the first inning.

Hashin scored two runs each in the fifth and sixth to take a 4-3 lead, while Nomi silenced the Swallows offense for six straight innings.

But the Swallows finally captured the southpaw and again rallied back by scoring four runs on RBI doubles by Kawabata and Shinya Miyamoto, and a Balentien sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Swallows starter Shohei Tateyama allowed seven hits and four runs in 7⅔ innings for a no-decision. Reliever Takehiko Oshimoto (2-2) got the win.

Blanco lifts Dragons


Tony Blanco broke a tie with an RBI single in the eighth inning as the Chunichi Dragons topped the Hiroshima Carp 4-3 at Mazda Stadium on Thursday.

BayStars 5, Giants 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Shuichi Murata highlighted a four-run third inning with a two-run double.


Fighters 2, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka's Yahoo Dome, Yu Darvish struck out 12 in eight dominant innings.

Marines 4, Buffaloes 3

At Kyocera Dome, Hiroki Ueno (4-4) pitched eight innings of one-run ball.

Lions 1, Eagles 0

At Kleenex Stadium, Takeya Nakamura hit his baseball-leading 43rd home run in the seventh inning as Seibu edged Tohoku Rakuten.

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