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Koyano lifts Fighters to win over Marines

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Eiichi Koyano hit a two-run go-ahead single in the sixth inning and Masaru Takeda threw one-run ball over seven effective frames as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rallied to beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 2-1 on Wednesday night.

On a day when hits came at a premium for the Fighters, Koyano came through with the clutch hit to give his team the lead en route to its second win in a row.

Masato Watanabe, who replaced Toshiaki Imae after the third baseman hurt himself running out a grounder in the first inning, had an RBI grounder to open the scoring in the third at Tokyo Dome.

Ikuhiro Kiyota had a leadoff infield double in the fourth, which deflected off second baseman Bobby Scales’ glove and Lotte nearly added more damage after Takeda loaded the bases with one out.

But the left-hander got Naoki Matoba to hit into an inning-ending double play to end the threat and later escaped a second-and-third situation with one out in the fifth.

Lady Luck smiled down on the Fighters in the sixth inning.

Shota Ono was out at second trying to stretch a one-out single to right into a double, but Scales then singled into right and Daikan Yoh reached on an uncaught third strike before Yoshio Itoi was hit by a pitch to load the bases, setting the stage for Koyano’s game-winner to right field.

Takeda (10-9) scattered eight hits, struck out one and walked one and Hisashi Takeda closed out the ninth for his Pacific-League leading 32nd save. Yuki Karakawa (9-6) took the loss.

Lions 2, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Takeya Nakamura hit a tiebreaking homer off Masahiko Morifuku (4-1) in the ninth inning for his baseball-leading 40th home run and drove in both runs as Seibu edged Pacific League leader Softbank.

Hideaki Wakui (7-11) allowed one run and five hits over the distance for the win

Eagles 8, Buffaloes 6

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 6, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, rookie Hirokazu Sawamura (7-11) pitched seven shutout innings and Takayuki Terauchi had a two-run single to key a four-run fourth as Yomiuri downed Yokohama.

Tigers 3, Dragons 2

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Takashi Toritani hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as Hanshin snapped a four-game skid and returned to .500 with a win over Chunichi.

Matt Murton hit a two-run line drive for a single in the sixth before Toritani gave Hanshin the lead in the eighth. Chunichi saw its winning streak end at five.

Swallows 7, Carp 6

Ramirez out of jail

AP
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida

Former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, a colorful slugger who abruptly retired this year amid allegations of banned substance use, is now facing criminal prosecution on charges that he slapped his wife during an argument.

Ramirez, 39, could get up to a year in jail if convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery charges. He was released on $2,500 bail Tuesday after spending the night in the Broward County Jail, with little to say to a knot of waiting reporters.