Takashi Toritani drove in five runs and Kenji Jojima cranked a pair of homers as the Hanshin Tigers teed off on Swallows pitching Sunday night at Jingu Stadium, out-hitting their hosts 20-9 and outscoring them 12-5.
Jojima homered twice and drove in three runs while Toritani was 4-for-5 on the night with a two-run homer among his five RBIs. Slugger Craig Brazell hammered his 38th home run of the campaign, a three-run shot in the eighth for Hanshin.
The Central League-leading Tigers hit five home runs in total Sunday, providing plenty of offensive support for starter Yasutomo Kubo, who improved to 12-5 on the season. Right-hander Kubo allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over six innings. He fanned seven.
Tigers leadoff hitter Matt Murton and veteran outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto also had productive nights at the plate. Murton went 4-for-6 to bump his average up to .339 while Kanemoto had three hits, including his 13th home run of the season. Keiichi Hirano and rookie Shunsuke Fujikawa also had three hits apiece for Hanshin.
Murton led the game off with a line single to center off Yakult starter Hitoshi Yamamoto (0-1), who was making his first start of the season. Murton was bunted over to second before coming home on a bloop single by Toritani to open the scoring.
The lead would not last long, however. In the bottom of the first, Swallows leadoff man Norichika Aoki stroked a Kubo offering over the wall to even things up.
Hanshin then put up a three-spot the following inning. Kanemoto homered off Yamamoto to lead off the second and Jojima followed him with his first jack of the night as the veteran duo went back-to-back. Toritani lined an RBI single to center later in the frame to give Hanshin a 4-1 lead.
Yamamoto's night was done after two innings, having allowed four runs on seven hits.
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama cranked a two-run homer off Kubo to make it a one-run game in the fourth, but Jojima nullified that with a two-run shot of his own an inning later off Yakult reliever Kosuke Matsui. Jojima' 24th homer of the season gave the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
Toritani's blast off Takehiko Oshimoto in the sixth tacked on two more runs for Hanshin. Toritani singled home a run in the eighth before Brazell capped the scoring for the Tigers with his three-run bomb off Kenichi Matsuoka.
Hatakeyama drove in his third run of the night for Yakult with a ninth-inning RBI double to left off Naoto Tsuru, who gave up two runs on three hits in one inning of work.
The Tigers, who began the night a few percentage points ahead of the Yomiuri Giants atop the CL standings, took two out of three from Yakult at Jingu.
Elsewhere, the Yokohama BayStars edged the Chunichi Dragons 2-1.