NAGOYA – Maximo Nelson threw eight-plus shutout innings Wednesday before an implosion of the bullpen, but the Chunichi Dragons beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4-3 to have a magic number of four to clinch the Central League title appear for the first time.
Nelson (10-14) lit up the scoreboard with zeroes, allowing just three hits — all singles — with five strikeouts before issuing a leadoff walk in the ninth for his first free pass at Nagoya Dome.
With a 4-0 lead, Chunichi manager Hiromitsu Ochiai then inexplicably went to his bullpen which proceeded to give up three runs before Takuya Asao escaped a two-on jam to end it.
Tony Blanco broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the sixth inning and Kazuhiro Wada added a three-run homer for insurance in the eighth.
Second-place Yakult lost its third straight against CL leader Chunichi, which won its fourth in a row.
Giants 4, Tigers 1 (10)
At Tokyo Dome, pinch hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi hit a walk-off three-run home run in the 10th inning, lifting Yomiuri over Hanshin.
Carp 3, BayStars 1
At Mazda Stadium, Yuya Fukui (8-9) held the damage to one run and five hits in his second shutout of the season, winning his first decision since Aug. 31 in Hiroshima’s win over last-place Yokohama.
Ryohei Matsuyama and Yoshihiro Maru hit back-to-back RBI singles in the first inning for a 2-0 lead and Maru homered in the fourth off Shigeru Kaga (4-3).
Lions 11, Marines 3
At Seibu Dome, Takeya Nakamura, Jose Fernandez and Hideto Asamura drove in three runs apiece as Seibu walloped Chiba Lotte in a 15-hit attack in support of Fumiya Nishiguchi (10-7), who pitched three-run ball over six frames.
Nakamura had a tiebreaking two-run homer off Atsushi Kobayashi (1-5) in a three-run first for his 47th home run of the season and Asamura went deep with a three-run blast in a four-run fourth.
Buffaloes 2, Fighters 2 (10)