HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 8 (ACN) The seventh home run of the season of Cuban Yurisbel Gracial was crucial today in the 2-0 victory of the current monarchs, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, in the Pacific circuit of the Japanese Professional Baseball League (NPB).
Gracial, who batted second in the lineup, hit a solo homer to drive in the Hawks' second and last run of the game; he hit 1 for 4 and his batting average (BA) dropped to .319.
The also Cuban Alfredo Despaigne, who had not seen action since August 23 due to discomfort in his left knee, batted fifth as designated hitter for the winners but did not do well at all as he batted 0 for 3 thus reducing his BA to .200.
Meanwhile, OF Leonys Martin, one of those hired in Japan without the auspices of the Cuban National Commission, produced his twentieth homer of the season and was a key factor in the 3-2 win of the Chiba Lotte Marines over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and drove in all the runs his team managed to score.
Martin, who hit 2 for 4, raised his BA to .257 and now amounts 57 RBIs, to tie for fifth seat in the Pacific League in that important offensive stat.
In another match of the day, first baseman Dayan Viciedo could barely contribute to avoid the 0-2 loss of the Chunichi Dragons to the Yomiuri Giants as he hit 1 for 4 and his BA fell to .281.