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Hawks grab ‘sayonara’ victory over Fighters

Kyodo

Munenori Kawasaki delivered a tie-breaking RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, giving the front-running Daiei Hawks an 8-7 “sayonara” victory over the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League.

News photoMunenori Kawasaki of Daiei acknowledges the fans after hitting a “sayonara” RBI double to lead the Hawks to an 8-7 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Fukuoka Dome.

With two out, Kawasaki, who went 3-for-5 on the day, doubled down the left-field line to score Tadahito Iguchi all the way from first for a dramatic finish at Fukuoka Dome.

Iguchi and Kenji Jojima each homered twice and led the charge by going 3-for-4 in a 14-hit attack. Shinji Takahashi gave Nippon Ham a 7-5 lead with a three-run homer in the eighth before Daiei tied it 7-all in the bottom half.

Koji Mise (3-2) retired three in the top of the ninth to post the win while Yoshinori Tateyama (1-3) took the loss.

Buffaloes 10, BlueWave 2

At Yahoo BB Stadium, Hiroaki Onishi hit a grand slam in a six-run first inning and Kevin Beirne (6-6) yielded two runs on 10 hits while striking out eight over eighth innings as Kintetsu romped over last-place Orix.

Five Kintetsu players including Onishi had two hits apiece in a 13-hit onslaught. Orix starter Tatsuo Kato (2-3) was chased in one inning after allowing six runs on nine hits.

Lotte 4, Seibu 3

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Kazuya Fukuura hit a one-out RBI double off Tomoki Hoshino (3-2) in the bottom of the ninth inning as Lotte claimed a “sayonara” victory for the second night in a row over Seibu.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 4, Swallows 3 (11)

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Kawai hit a pinch-hit two-out single in the 11th inning as first-place Chunichi stopped a three-game losing skid with a walkoff victory over Yakult.

Giants 3, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Hiroshi Sato (2-0) set the pace on four-hit ball through 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his first career start and five relievers combined on a three-hitter the rest of the way, leading Yomiuri to a victory over Hanshin.

Tomoaki Kanemoto rewrote a Japanese pro baseball record after appearing in his 701st consecutive full game.

BayStars at Carp — ppd.

Kokubo eligible for free agency

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Yomiuri Giants infielder Hiroki Kokubo became eligible for free agency on Sunday in his 10th year in professional baseball.

However, Kokubo, who joined the Daiei Hawks in 1994 as their No. 2 draft pick, is unlikely to exercise his free agency this year after joining the Giants on a two-year contract in an off-season free trade last year.