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Giants fall to Swallows in 10th, sip to third in final standings

Kyodo News

The Yomiuri Giants blew a chance for home-field advantage in the upcoming Central League Climax Series after allowing the Tokyo Yakult Swallows to rally for a 7-4 victory in their final game of the regular season on Friday.

Ryohei Kawamoto hit a decisive three-run homer in the top of the 10th inning, lifting Yakult past Yomiuri, which slipped into third place behind the second-place Hanshin Tigers — their rivals for the best-of-three first stage of the Climax Series getting under way at Koshien Stadium on Oct. 16.

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, who had four RBIs on the night, hit a two-run homer to bring the Swallows within 4-3 in the sixth and added a game-tying single in the ninth.

The Giants wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the ninth.

Marc Kroon (4-3) blew the save. Kenichi Matsuoka (3-4) got the win in relief.

Yomiuri’s Alex Ramirez hit his Nippon Professional Baseball-leading 49th homer of the year, a two-run shot in the fourth.