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Yano leads Hanshin fightback over Yomiuri

Kyodo

Akihiro Yano drove in three runs in a 2-for-4 outing as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers rallied from a four-run deficit en route to a 7-4 victory over the Yomiuri Giants on Tuesday.

Aarom Baldiris had an RBI single followed by Yano’s run-scoring single, and Hanshin took advantage of two errors to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the fourth inning at Koshien Stadium. The win left Hanshin with a magic number of 46.

In the fifth, a Mitsunobu Takahashi single with runners at first and second tied the game before Shinjiro Hiyama had an RBI groundout for the go-ahead run.

Yano capped the scoring with a two-run single up the middle.

Hirotaka Egusa (3-1) got the win in relief. Kyuji Fujikawa worked the ninth for his CL-leading 31st save.

Tetsuya Utsumi (6-7) yielded seven unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Swallows 4, BayStars 1

Dragons 7, Carp 1

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Lions 14, Eagles 2

At Seibu Dome, Hiroshi Hirao, Craig Brazell and Takeya Nakamura drove in seven runs between them in an 11-run second inning as Pacific League leader Saitama Seibu routed Tohoku Rakuten to reach 50 wins.

Seibu sent 15 batters to the plate to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 12-2 lead in the second, coming one run shy of tying a Pacific League record of scoring 12 runs in one inning.

Hirao had four hits, including a pair of RBI singles in the second. Brazell doubled in two runs in the second and added a solo homer in the fifth. Nakamura had a three-run shot in the second.

Hideaki Wakui (8-7) allowed four runs, struck out seven and walked none in his fifth complete game of the season. Rookie lefty Kohei Hasebe (0-2) was hammered for seven runs in just 1 1/3 innings.

Fighters 3, Marines 2

At Sapporo Dome, Eiichi Koyano hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Brian Sweeney threw 5 2/3 effective innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham held off Chiba Lotte.

Nippon Ham built a 3-0 lead on a Makoto Kaneko RBI double in the second and Koyano’s shot to right off Hiroyuki Kobayashi (2-9) before Lotte pulled within a run on a Tomoya Satozaki homer in the sixth.

Sweeney (7-3) allowed two runs and six hits. Micheal Nakamura threw a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Buffaloes 4, Hawks 2

Tanaka doubtful

Kyodo News

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who is a member of the Japanese national team for the Beijing Olympics, will be removed from the active roster with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, team officials said Tuesday.

Tanaka will be deactivated on Wednesday, meaning he will likely miss the All-Star series starting July 31 and also making him a question mark for Senichi Hoshino’s squad for Beijing next month.

Tanaka complained of pain in his shoulder on Monday and was diagnosed at a hospital the following day. Team officials said the 19-year-old will have to refrain from throwing for about one week before a further assessment can be made.

According to Rakuten manager Katsuya Nomura, Tanaka felt a twinge in the shoulder around the seventh inning while pitching against the Softbank Hawks on Saturday at Kleenex Stadium.

“It might be difficult for him to compete at the Olympics,” Nomura said. “He will have to start from scratch to get a balanced pitching form.”

Tanaka, the 2007 Pacific League Rookie of the Year, is 6-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 games, four of them complete games.