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Akiyama helps Lions edge league-leading Marines

Kyodo

Shogo Akiyama belted a third-inning, two-run triple, and Kazuhisa Makita (8-5) allowed two runs in 6⅓ innings as the Seibu Lions knocked off the Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte Marines 4-2 on Wednesday as play resumed following the All-Star break.

The Lions leadoff hitter opened the third with an infield single, and Lotte’s Seth Greisinger (6-4) issued a two-out walk before leaving a pitch up and over the plate to Akiyama, who hit it off the fence in right center at Seibu Dome.

Hiroyuki Nakajima, who had his fourth straight three-hit game, followed with an RBI double. Esteban German drove home Nakajima in the sixth.

Makita allowed eight hits and hit two batters, while striking out eight.

“Makita gave up that run in the first but he was workmanlike the rest of the way, he gave us a chance to win,” said Lions skipper Hisanobu Watanabe. “The relievers have pitched well recently and they did again tonight.”

Lions lefty Randy Williams got two outs in the seventh. Right-hander Shuichiro Osada gave up two hits in a scoreless eighth before turning the ball over to Hideaki Wakui, who pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

The win lifted the Lions past Fukuoka Softbank and into fourth place, four games back of the Marines.

Fighters 1, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Sho Nakata led off the second with a home run and Masaru Takeda (7-5) went six innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham shut out Fukuoka Softbank and moved to within one game of front-running Chiba Lotte.

Takeda scattered six hits and a walk and got three innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen to outduel Tadashi Settsu (9-5), who allowed six hits and one walk over seven innings.

Buffaloes 5, Eagles 1

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Naotaka Takehara untied the game in the fifth with a solo homer on the first pitch he saw from Tohoku Rakuten’s Manabu Mima (5-5) and Hiroshi Kisanuki (3-6) posted his first win since April 15.

Takahiro Okada hit a two-run double in the sixth to give Kisanuki some breathing room. The right-hander allowed seven hits and a walk, while striking out seven in the 2 hour, 17 minute game.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 6, Tigers 0

At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi’s Kazuki Yoshimi (7-4) threw a four-hit shutout, and Masahiko Morino’s two-out, fourth-inning single off Randy Messenger (5-9) drove home Kazuhiro Wada with the game’s first run.

Wada, who opened the third with a double, tripled in two runs in the sixth and also reached on an infield single as the Dragons improved to 26-6 at Nagoya Dome this season with six ties. The Tigers have yet to win there in six games.

Swallows 1, Carp 1 (10)

At Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Lastings Milledge led off the bottom of the third inning with his 13th home run, and Hiroshima’s Shota Dobayashi led off the seventh with his 10th homer, as the two teams played to a 10-inning tie.

Carp right-hander Bryan Bullington allowed a run on five hits in six innings for his best start since he threw nine scoreless innings on May 16.

The two teams remained even with .500 records in the middle of the Central League standings.

Giants 6, BayStars 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Hayato Sakamoto tied it in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI double, and Shinnosuke Abe’s two-out single later in the inning gave the Giants the lead for good in their win over Yokohama.

Sakamoto homered and drove in three runs, while right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura (8-7) went the distance for the first time since he beat the BayStars on April 13. Former Giant Alex Ramirez had three hits, including his 12th homer, and drove in both the BayStars’ runs.