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Softbank snaps skid in regular season finale

Kyodo

Munenori Kawasaki hit a two-run homer and Tsuyoshi Wada and six relievers combined on a six-hitter as the Softbank Hawks snapped their four-game skid with a 5-0 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Pacific League’s last regular season game on Sunday.

Hiroki Kokubo’s run-scoring grounder and a Jose Ortiz RBI single in the first inning gave Softbank an early lead. Kawasaki made it 4-0 with a drive to center off Darrell Rasner (4-7) in the fifth at Kleenex Stadium.

Hidenori Tanoue added a homer leading off the seventh. Wada (4-5) allowed three hits, all singles, with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings to earn his first win since May 22.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 4, Dragons 3

At Jingu Stadium, Jamie D’Antona hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning as Yakult rallied past Chunichi to win its fifth in a row.

Yuji Onizaki cut a 3-0 deficit with an RBI single in the sixth, followed by Kazuhiro Hatakeyama’s sacrifice fly that made it 3-2 in the seventh. Kenichi Matsuoka (6-4) won in relief.

Tony Blanco had a two-run blast for his CL-leading 39th homer in the sixth. Chunichi manager Hiromitsu Ochiai was ejected for holding up the game when he argued that D’Antona’s home run to left off Daisuke Yamai (0-4) was a foul ball.

No thanks for Linden

SENDAI (Kyodo) Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles outfielder Todd Linden was removed from the active roster on Sunday, leaving him out of the first stage of the Climax Series playoffs after Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura accused him of criticizing his game decisions.

Linden will be sidelined until Oct. 21 for what appeared to be a sarcastic remark directed at Nomura after he was removed from the starting lineup and made a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning in a 7-1 defeat to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Saturday.

Nomura was infuriated that the former major leaguer said, “Thank you” to him in a way he interpreted as being sarcastic.

Nakamura crowned

Kyodo News

Seibu Lions third baseman-designated hitter Takeya Nakamura won the Pacific League home run and RBI titles as the league ended its regular season schedule Sunday.

Nakamura hit 48 home runs to lead the PL for the second consecutive year while driving in 122 runs in 128 games.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles outfielder Teppei Tsuchiya became the PL batting champion for the first time in his career with a .327 average.