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Inaba moves closer to 2,000-hit milestone in win

Kyodo, Staff Report

Atsunori Inaba went 4-for-4 to move within two hits of a career 2,000 as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 5-1 Wednesday.

The 39-year-old Inaba had four singles, giving himself a chance to become the 39th player in Japanese baseball history to reach the mark on Thursday.

The Fighters pounded out 15 hits to take over first place in the Pacific League from the Marines, who had their winning streak snapped at three games.

Nippon Ham turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in the first inning at Tokyo Dome on RBI singles by Yoshio Itoi and Daikan Yoh. The Fighters made it 4-1 in the fourth before Yoh added another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Nippon Ham left-hander Tomoya Yagi (2-2) allowed one run and six hits, including a first-inning homer by Tadahito Iguchi, in six innings. Hayden Penn (1-2) lasted only 3⅓ innings.

Lions 3, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Hiroyuki Nakajima went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Takayuki Kishi (3-1) struck out 10 in his first complete game of the season as Seibu beat Softbank to halt a three-game slide.

Nakajima had an RBI single in the third and a run-scoring double in the eighth. Kenji Otonari (1-2) gave up three runs in 7⅓ innings for Softbank.

Eagles 7, Buffaloes 4

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Jose Fernandez drove in three runs as Tohoku Rakuten defeated Orix.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 5, Carp 0

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Yasutomo Kubo and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout, leading Hanshin over Hiroshima.

Kubo (2-1) struck out eight over seven innings of work. Hanshin took a 2-0 lead in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Craig Brazell and Tomoaki Kanemoto off Kan Otake (2-2).

Swallows 1, Dragons 1 (11)

At Jingu Stadium, Motonobu Tanishige hit a game-tying solo homer in the seventh inning and the two teams played to a draw.

BayStars at Giants — ppd.