SAPPORO – Shogo Akiyama’s two-out, two-run single overturned a one-run deficit in the seventh inning and the Seibu Lions held on to defeat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4-3 on Sunday.
The Lions’ seventh-straight victory moved the team to within a half game of the Chiba Lotte Marines in the battle for second place and the right to host the first stage of the Pacific League Climax Series.
Pitching in his 10th consecutive game, Hideaki Wakui worked the ninth to earn his seventh save.
The Fighters, who won the PL last season, finished the season in last place for the first time in 12 years.
Buffaloes 3, Marines 1
At QVC Marine Field, Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko (14-8) scattered seven hits and four walks over seven innings to allow just a run and pick up the win against second-place Chiba Lotte.
Swallows 5, Carp 4
At Mazda Stadium, Brazil captain Yuichi Matsumoto broke the ice with a first-inning RBI single off Japan WBC star Kenta Maeda (15-7), and rookie Tetsuto Yamada followed with a grand slam as last-place Tokyo Yakult defeated playoff-bound Hiroshima.
Maeda’s defeat meant Swallows rookie Yasuhiro Ogawa will end the season with a league-leading 16 wins. The game was Hiroshima’s last at home this year, unless they manage to reach the Japan Series by winning both stages of the CL Climax Series on the road.