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Murata powers BayStars to win

Kyodo News

Shuichi Murata hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning as the Yokohama BayStars beat the newly crowned Central League champion Yomiuri Giants 3-1 on Wednesday.

News photoRakuten Golden Eagles starter Masahiro Tanaka pitches against the Nippon Ham Fighters on Wednesday at
Fullcast Stadium. The Eagles won 5-1 in their final meeting with the Fighters this season.
KYODO PHOTO

Murata connected off reliever Yuya Kubo (3-5) for his 34th home run, one behind Yomiuri’s Yoshinobu Takahashi and the Chunichi Dragons’ Tyrone Woods for the league lead.

Tigers 3, Swallows 0

At Jingu Stadium, Rookie right-hander Keiji Uezono and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout, leading Hanshin over Tokyo Yakult.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Marines 7, Hawks 5

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Saburo Omura hit a bases-clearing double in the eighth inning as Chiba Lotte rallied to beat Softbank to secure second place in the Pacific League and have home-field advantage in the first stage of the Climax Series.

Eagles 5, Fighters 1

At Fullcast Stadium, rookie right-hander Masahiro Tanaka struck out 13 as Tohoku Rakuten beat PL champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham to secure a fourth-place finish.

Fighters take Sho

Kyodo News

The Pacific League champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters acquired the negotiating rights for Osaka Toin slugger Sho Nakata in the amateur baseball draft for high school players on Wednesday. Nippon Ham won the four-party lottery for Nakata, who hit 87 home runs in his high school years, after the Orix Buffaloes, the Hanshin Tigers and the Softbank Hawks also named him in the first round of bids.

“Since Nippom Ham picked me, I’ll just do my best there,” Nakata said, hinting that he will sign a contract with the team that recently clinched its second consecutive Pacific League title.

“I want to become a player who can hit in clutch situations. I want to win the Rookie of the Year award.”

Sendai Ikuei right-hander Yoshinori Sato drew bids from five teams — the Sendai-based Tohoku Rakuten Eagles, the Yakult Swallows, the Yokohama BayStars, the Chunichi Dragons and the Yomiuri Giants.

The lottery result gave Yakult the rights to negotiate a contract with Sato, who clocked up to 155 kilometers per hour on his fastball in the national high school baseball championship in August, the fastest since the radar gun began being used in the tournament in 1980.

“I’m thrilled to make my dream of becoming a professional baseball player,” Sato said. Outgoing player-manager Atsuya Furuta drew the winning ticket from a lottery box.

Sato had wished to join his home town-based Eagles but indicated that he will join the Tokyo-based Swallows, saying, “Wherever I go, I want to be a player who is loved by people throughout the country.”