Baseball: Softbank Down Nippon Ham To Edge Closer To Pl Title


Baseball: SoftBank down Nippon Ham to edge closer to PL titleNobuhiro Matsuda and Yuki Yanagita both homered and the SoftBank Hawks edged closer clinching their second straight Pacific League title with a 7-3 defeat of the Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday night.

The Hawks fifth straight win put them 13.5 games ahead of second-placed Nippon Ham and reduced their magic number to clinch the pennant to 6.

Seiichi Uchikawa led off the second inning with a single and Lee Dae Ho, who hit a grand slam to contribute the Wednesday's win, added a single to right before Matsuda opened the scoring with his 32nd homer of the season off Shohei Otani.

Takuya Nakashima pulled a run back for the Fighters when he singled home Haruki Nishikawa in the bottom of the third and then tied the game up in the fifth with a two-run triple.

But with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, the Hawks regained the lead on Kenta Imamiya's two-run single and Yanagita knocked Otani out with a two-run homer in the seventh, his 31st of the campaign.

Otani (13-5) allowed all seven of SoftBank's runs in 6-0/3 innings for the loss. Tadashi Settsu (10-5) gave up three runs over five frames to register for the win. Dennis Sarfate closed out the game for his 36th save.

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Buffaloes 6, Marines 1

At QVC Marine Field, Takahiro Okada tied the game in the game in the eighth inning and Ryoichi Adachi batted in two runs in the four-run frame as Orix came from behind to beat Lotte. Orix's Kazumasa Yoshida (1-5) picked up his first win of the season.

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Central League

Giants 5, Tigers 4

At Koshien Stadium, Shinnosuke Abe homered for the second game in a row with a two-run shot in the sixth inning and Hayato Sakamoto added a solo shot in the eighth in Yomiuri's win over Hanshin.

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Carp 4, Dragons 2

At Mazda Stadium, an RBI double from Takahiro Arai and a two-run single from Yoshiyuki Ishihara brought Hiroshima from behind in the eighth inning and Kris Johnson (11-7) gave up two runs over eight frames to pick up the win as the Carp saw off Chunichi.

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Swallows 3, BayStars 1

At Jingu Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada hit his 34th home run of the season in Yakult's defeat of DeNA and Swallows starter Masanori Ishikawa (10-9) pitched 6-2/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits, to register his 10th for the second year in a row. Yakult is tied at the top of the CL with Hanshin.