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Ramirez, Lee power Giants past Tigers in CL showdown

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Alex Ramirez and Lee Seung Yeop each had three hits and drove in six runs between them as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hanshin Tigers 6-4 on Saturday to regain a share of the Central League lead.

Yomiuri turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead in the third inning on Ramirez’s RBI single and Lee’s two-run homer in the penultimate matchup of the season between the archrivals who are locked in a tight pennant race.

An inning later, Ramirez drew a bases-loaded walk and Lee followed with a two-run single that put the Giants ahead 6-2 at Koshien Stadium.

Hanshin pulled within two runs in the sixth on a pinch-hit RBI single by Takahiro Arai, who returned from a back injury, and a bases-loaded walk to Akihiro Yano, but the Yomiuri bullpen ended the Tigers’ rally there.

Tetsuya Utsumi (11-8) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings for the Giants, who have won 13 of their last 15 games.

Marc Kroon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his CL-leading 37th save.

Minoru Iwata (9-10) was charged with six runs in 3 2/3 innings as Hanshin lost for the first time in five games.