Early triple-crown candidate Michihiro Ogasawara hit a three-run homer Saturday and the Nippon Ham Fighters posted their fifth win in six games with an 8-2 triumph over the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.
WonLostTiedPct.GBHanshin 18 9 1 .667 -Yomiuri 18 10 0 .643 0.5Hiroshima 13 13 1 .500 4.5Yakult 14 15 0 .483 5.0Chunichi 12 15 1 .444 6.0Yokohama 7 20 1 .259 11.0Pacific League
WonLostTiedPct.GBDaiei 17 11 1 .607 -Seibu 15 10 1 .600 0.5Nippon Ham 15 13 0 .536 2.0Kintetsu 13 13 1 .500 3.0Orix 12 16 0 .429 5.0Lotte 9 18 1 .333 7.5
Nippon Ham starter Carlos Mirabal (4-0) surrendered a pair of runs on three hits in the first inning at the Tokyo Dome, but allowed only one more hit over the next 6 2/3 innings to saddle Daiei with its third loss in a row.
Ogasawara, the league’s top batter, saw his average dip to .425 after collecting just one hit in the game, but the homer was his 11th of the season and leaves him only two behind PL leader Tuffy Rhodes of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes.
Ogasawara’s three RBIs raised his total to 25, leaving him four shy of league leader Pedro Valdes of the Hawks.
Lions 5, Marines 1
At Marine Stadium, Fumiya Nishiguchi (3-3) allowed only four hits over seven innings and struck out nine as Seibu climbed to within a half-game of the Hawks with a win over Lotte.
Seibu slugger Alex Cabrera got the Lions rolling early with a two-run homer in the first inning off Lotte’s Brian Sikorski (1-4), who took the loss after giving up four runs and six hits over six-plus innings.
Buffaloes 7, BlueWave 4
At Green Stadium Kobe, Norihiro Nakamura went 4-for-5 with a solo homer in the fourth inning and a three-run clout in the ninth to power Kintetsu over Orix.
Rhodes also connected for his 13th homer of the season as Kintetsu won its third in a row to return to .500 with a 13-13 record.
Carp vs. Tigers — ppd.
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