FUKUOKA – Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit a tiebreaking solo shot in the fifth inning and Hitoshi Tamura drove in four runs with a homer as the Softbank Hawks routed Seibu 11-4 on Sunday to move within 1 1/2 games of the Pacific League-leading Lions.
Matsunaka’s solo home run to right off Takayuki Kishi (9-6) gave Softbank a 5-4 lead before the Hawks put the game away with a five-run seventh at Yahoo Dome.
Tamura had a three-run blast in the opening frame and an RBI single in the seventh among his three hits. Masahiko Morifuku (2-1) worked two scoreless innings in relief for the victory.
Yasuyuki Kataoka, Jose Fernandez and Hiroyuki Nakajima homered for Seibu.
The two teams will wrap up the crucial three-game series on Monday.
Buffaloes 4, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, Chihiro Kaneko won his 13th straight start with 7 2/3 shutout innings as Orix snapped Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s three-game winning streak.
Eagles 8, Marines 6
At Kleenex Stadium, Yosuke Takasu hit a walk-off three-run home run with one out in the ninth inning off Hiroyuki Kobayashi (3-3), giving Tohoku Rakuten a win over Chiba Lotte.
Dragons 6, Swallows 2
At Jingu Stadium, Kazuhiro Wada homered twice and Kenichi Nakata pitched eight strong innings, leading the front-running Dragons past the Swallows.
Wada opened the scoring with a solo shot in the third and added a two-run drive two innings later, raising his career-high home run total to 36, fourth in the Central League.
Nakata (7-3) was working on a shutout until he gave up a two-run homer to Norichika Aoki in the eighth. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five.
The Dragons can clinch a place in the Climax Series if they beat the Swallows on Monday.
Giants 6, Tigers 4
At Koshien Stadium, Shinnosuke Abe and Ryota Wakiya hit two-run doubles in the first inning as Yomiuri jumped on Randy Messenger (4-6) for six early runs to beat Hanshin.
Carp 3, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Shogo Kimura had two extra-base hits, including a tiebreaking triple in the sixth inning, leading Hiroshima over Yokohama for its third straight victory.