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Aoki earns CL batting title

Kyodo News

Norichika Aoki held off fellow Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Alex Ramirez to win his second Central League batting title in three years with a .346 average as the CL ended its 2007 regular season schedule Tuesday. Ramirez fell short of the title with a .343 average but drove in 122 runs to claim his second RBI crown and also set the Central League single-season record of 204 hits, two more than Aoki had in 2005. Yokohama BayStars third baseman Shuichi Murata captured his first home run title with 36. Chunichi Dragons second baseman Masahiro Araki had a league-leading 31 stolen bases. In major pitching categories, Yakult right-hander Seth Greisinger was the winningest pitcher with a 16-8 record. Yomiuri Giants left-hander Hisanori Takahashi had a league-best 2.75 ERA. His teammate Tetsuya Utsumi led the league with 180 strikeouts. Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa earned a Japanese baseball record-tying 46 saves.