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Tigers, Buffaloes close out interleague play with tie

Kyodo

Twelve innings wasn’t enough to decide a winner on Thursday night as the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes closed out interleague play with the 3-3 tie.

It was the only tie in interleague play.

Stefen Romero put Orix on the board in the top of the second inning at Koshien Stadium with a solo shot to left center against Hanshin rookie Kosuke Baba in his NPB debut. The right-hander fanned five and scattered five hits over six innings.

Orix left-hander Sachiya Yamasaki threw hitless ball until the bottom of the sixth when he gave up a single to pinch hitter Noriharu Yamasaki. The starter got into a jam when Takahiro Kumagai reached first on a fielding error and stole second after Kosuke Fukudome struck out.

Yamasaki was retired with two outs and runners in scoring positions, and Orix reliever Yuta Kuroki then gave up the Buffaloes’ lead by ceding an RBI single to Yoshio Itoi before shutting down the inning.

Orix pinch hitter Masahiro Nishino led off the eighth with a single, reached third on a sacrifice bunt, and crossed the plate on a hit from Eiichi Koyano to tie the game.

Koyano reached second on another sac bunt, and Masataka Yoshida drove him home to retake the lead but slipped rounding third and left the field limping.

The Tigers equalized in the ninth when Itoi’s solo homer against lefty Hirotoshi Masui sent the game into extra innings, and relievers entered into a standoff until the 12th inning tie was called.

The Buffaloes finished the annual early summer series second behind the Tokyo Yakult Swallows with 11 wins, six losses, and the lone tie, while the Tigers ended second from the bottom at 6-11-1.

After winning 59 games to the Central League’s 48, the Pacific League marked the ninth straight and 14th year overall they have bested the rival league since interplay competition commenced in 2005.

League play will resume on Friday.