Norihiro Nakamura smacked a solo homer in the top of the 10th inning to cap a stunning two-day series for the Kintetsu Buffaloes on Sunday as the defending Pacific League champions edged the Seibu Lions 4-3.

A day after Tuffy Rhodes hit a grand slam for the team’s third straight victory, Nakamura hit his 16th home run of the season — and his fourth in as many games — off Seibu closer Shinji Mori with the game tied 3-3 at the Seibu Dome.

Seibu’s Ken Suzuki forced an extra inning with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth, but Mori (2-4) quickly surrendered the lead again on Nakamura’s homer.

Akira Okamoto (3-0) earned the win despite allowing the game-tying run to Suzuki in his 2 1/3-inning outing.

Fighters 3, Hawks 2
At the Fukuoka Dome, D.T. Cromer hit a home run for the second consecutive day to break a 2-2 deadlock in the ninth and right-hander Hiroshi Shibakusa was perfect in the bottom of the frame for the save as Nippon Ham edged Daiei.

Carlos Mirabal (6-1), working the inside of the strike zone aggressively, gave up two runs while scattering eight hits over eight innings. He joined Seibu’s Daisuke Matsuzaka for the most wins in the league with six.

BlueWave 4, Marines 0
At Chiba Marine Stadium, South Korean lefty Koo Dae Sung put on a one-man show by pitching eight strong innings and combined with closer Masanobu Okubo on a four-hitter as Orix blanked Lotte.

Koo (3-2) walked just one and struck out four, improving his league-leading ERA to 1.55 and extending his streak of scoreless innings to 16.


Tigers 6, Dragons 0
Nineteen-year veteran southpaw Nobuyuki Hoshino (1-1) set the pace by pitching six scoreless innings and four relievers closed out the game as Hanshin rolled over Chunichi.

Kentaro Sekimoto hit his first career home run and George Arias belted a three-run shot as Hanshin posted its second straight shutout win.

Giants 6, Carp 3
Yoshinobu Takahashi and Hideki Matsui homered and the Yomiuri Giants salvaged the final game of a three-game series with the Hiroshima Carp with a win to maintain their half-game lead in the Central League standings.

Takahashi’s homer in the second inning at Hiroshima Stadium got the visitors on board and Matsui’s two-run host in the sixth gave Yomiuri a five-run lead.

Yomiuri southpaw Hisanori Takahashi (5-0) allowed only four hits and a run over the first six innings, but ran into trouble in the seventh when the Carp scored two runs and had the bases loaded for Eddy Diaz before being relieved by Tsuyoshi Jobe.

Matsuzaka back soon

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref (Kyodo) Seibu Lions right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to the mound Wednesday for the first time in 16 days, the Pacific League club’s pitching coach Hirohisa Matsunuma said Sunday.

Matsuzaka, who will miss his second scheduled start Monday because of a sore elbow, is set to make his appearance against the Daiei Hawks at the Fukuoka Dome.

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