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Interleague play begins, Giants win

Kyodo

Tuffy Rhodes and Toshihisa Nishi homered and Kimiyasu Kudo pitched 6 2/3 effective innings to lead the Yomiuri Giants to an 8-6 victory over the Rakuten Golden Eagles as the first-ever interleague play in Japanese baseball got underway on Friday.

News photoHirotoshi Kitagawa of the Orix Buffaloes belts a two-run
homer in the sixth inning of Friday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons at
Skymark Stadium in Kobe. The Buffaloes won 6-0.

In a meeting between the oldest and newest teams and cellar dwellers in each of the Central and Pacific leagues, Rhodes went 2-for-4 with a sacrifice fly that opened the scoring in the first and a fourth-inning solo drive off Kevin Hodges (1-5).

After Rakuten tied the game on a throwing error by Yomiuri shortstop Tomohiro Nioka in the second, Daisuke Motoki lofted a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the third and Yomiuri opened up a three-run lead on Rhodes’ homer and Nioka’s RBI single in the fourth.

A wild pitch by the Eagles’ reliever Kanehisa Arime made it 6-2 in the seventh before the Giants scored what proved to be key runs in the top of the ninth on a two-run homer by Nishi and Motoki’s RBI double.

BayStars 2, Marines 1

At Yokohama Stadium, Shuichi Murata hit a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Yokohama a “sayonara” victory over PL leader Chiba Lotte, which lost its second game in a row after winning 12 straight.

Murata ended the game played in steady rain with a one-out hit to left off closer Masahide Kobayashi (0-1) after the BayStars loaded the bases with a hit-by-a-pitch and two walks. Yokohama won its fourth straight game and climbed back to .500.

Buffaloes 6, Dragons 0

At Skymark Stadium in Kobe, Jose Parra scattered six hits in seven sharp innings and combined with two relievers on a shutout of CL-leading Chunichi as Orix snapped its five-game losing skid.

Arihito Muramatsu went 3-for-4 with an RBI single while Yoshitomo Tani and Hirotoshi Kitagawa drove in two runs apiece as the Buffaloes scored all six runs off Kenshin Kawakami (3-2) and stopped the Dragons’ winning streak at four games.

Lions 13, Carp 4

In Hiroshima, Takeya Nakamura and Jose Fernandez continued their hot hitting as they homered and drove in seven runs between them to lead Seibu to its third consecutive win with a rout of Hiroshima.

Nakamura gave the Lions a 2-0 lead with a two-run blast to right, his third homer in two games, and Fernandez added a two-run shot in a seven-run third for his fifth homer in four games. Nakamura also hit an RBI double in the third and Fernandez added another two-run shot in the seventh.

Tigers 10, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, Osamu Hamanaka hit a go-ahead two-run double to highlight a six-run rally in the eighth inning as Hanshin came from behind to hammer Hokkaido Nippon Ham for its third straight win after losing five in a row.

Hawks at Swallows — ppd.

Woods suspended

The Associated Press

Tyrone Woods of the Chunichi Dragons was suspended Friday for 10 games and handed a $5,000 fine for punching Yakult pitcher Shugo Fujii in Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Swallows.

In the fifth inning of Thursday’s game at Nagoya Dome, Woods, a native of Florida, charged the mound after being brushed back by an inside pitch and hit Fujii with a right hook to the head, knocking the Yakult pitcher to the ground.