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Iwase earns milestone 250th save

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Hitoki Iwase picked up his 250th career save as the Chunichi Dragons rallied past the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 5-3 on Wednesday.

The left-hander threw a scoreless ninth inning at Nagoya Dome, making him the third pitcher in Japanese baseball history to reach the plateau in his 658th game.

Shingo Takatsu leads the all-time list with 286 saves, followed by Kazuhiro Sasaki with 252.

Chunichi trailed 3-2 with two outs in the eighth when Tony Blanco hit a three-run homer to the right-field stands off Takeharu Kato (0-1). Masahiko Morino hit a sacrifice fly in the first and Kei Nomoto an RBI double in the seventh.

Iwase, who has pitched in more than 50 games every year since his rookie season of 1999, allowed a double to Takayuki Takaguchi with one out in the ninth but retired the next two batters to earn his Central League-leading 16th save.