OSAKA – Orix lefty Yuji Maeda worked six innings and three relievers completed a three-hit shutout as the Buffaloes defeated the playoff-bound Chiba Lotte Marines 1-0 on Monday.
The loss knocked the Marines into third place just behind the Seibu Lions. The two teams finish the regular season against each other on Tuesday at Seibu Dome, with the right to host the first stage of the Pacific League Climax Series at stake.
Maeda (3-4) gave up two hits and four walks, while striking out five. He escaped his only trouble of the night, when he got out of the second on a double-play ball with the bases loaded.
Former Marine Naotaka Takehara doubled in Aarom Baldiris with the game’s only run in the sixth, and closer Yoshihisa Hirano stranded the tying run on third base to end the game and earn his 31st save.
In a precursor to this weekend’s Climax Series opener, the Lions will send Kazuhisa Makita (8-9) to the mound against Lotte ace Yoshihisa Naruse (6-3) at Seibu Dome. Naruse has pitched in just three Eastern League games since he was deactivated on June 29 due to poor form.
Tigers to retain Wada
Hanshin Tigers manager Yutaka Wada will remain in that post for next season, regardless of the outcome of this year’s Central League playoffs, team owner Shinya Sakai said Monday.
Wada is in the second year of a three-year deal. The Tigers finished fifth last season, but finished second this year to return to the postseason.
Shirai revealed at the All-Star break that he wanted Wada to stay on to the completion of his contract.
“I’m talking about his fulfilling the full term of the contract. I am not concerned about anything,” he said, indicating that even a first-stage defeat this weekend would not change his mind.
The Tigers are taking their fourth stab at the Climax Series. They have a 1-6 record in three first-stage series and have yet to advance to the second stage. Hanshin will face the Hiroshima Carp, making their first postseason appearance since 1991, in the best-of-three first stage at Koshien Stadium starting Saturday.
Padilla facing exit
Vicente Padilla, who has won 108 big league games, will not receive a contract for 2014 from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, it was learned from a source on Monday.
The 36-year-old Padilla, who signed on Feb. 12 after a tryout in spring training, went 3-6 with a 3.84 in 16 games for the Pacific League club.
It appears likely that right-handed reliever Brian Falkenborg and outfielder Wily Mo Pena will also not be with the club next season.
The 35-year-old Falkenborg joined Softbank in 2009 and posted a league-leading 39 holds in 2010. He allowed a pair of go-ahead eighth-inning home runs in the past week that helped knock the Hawks out of playoff contention.
Pena, 31, won the PL’s Best IX Award for designated hitter last season, when he batted .280 with 21 home runs in 130 games, but this year has played in just 55 games with only one home run and a .233 batting average.