Tuffy Rhodes crushed three homers and drove in seven runs Saturday to lead the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes to a 9-7 victory over the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

Central League
WonLostTiedPct.GBHanshin 32 24 1 .571 -Yomiuri 33 25 0 .569 0.0Yakult 30 25 0 .545 1.5Chunichi 29 25 1 .537 2.0Hiroshima 24 27 1 .471 5.5Yokohama 16 38 1 .296 15.0Pacific League
WonLostTiedPct.GBSeibu 36 17 1 .679 -Kintetsu 32 20 1 .615 3.5Daiei 28 25 1 .528 8.0Nippon Ham27 29 0 .482 10.5Orix 21 33 0 .389 15.5Lotte 16 36 1 .308 19.5

Rhodes hit a two-run shot — his league leading 23rd homer — in a three-run first inning at Osaka Dome and came back with a three-run clout over the right field wall in his next at-bat in the second.

His 25th homer — another two-run blast — came in his next at-bat in the fourth and helped a struggling Jeremy Powell (7-3), who picked up his seventh win despite allowing three runs on nine hits over six innings.

Daiei rallied for four runs in the ninth but came up short against Akira Okamoto, who got the final two outs on strikeouts for his 13th save as Kintetsu won its 10th straight.

Lions 11, Marines 1

At Akita prefectural stadium, Tom Evans hit a grand slam and Kazuo Matsui belted two solo shots in a 14-hit attack as Seibu Lions blew past Chiba Lotte its ninth win in a row.

Taiwanese newcomer Chang Chin-chia (2-1) fanned nine batters and held Lotte scoreless on four hits over seven innings — his longest outing thus far in Japan.

Lotte’s Naoyuki Shimizu (4-3), who could not contain his wildness, was saddled with his third loss after surrendering five runs on seven hits and three walks in just two innings.

BlueWave 1, Fighters 0

At Tokyo Dome, Tatsuya Shindo drew a walk to lead off the top of the ninth inning and came home on a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to lead Orix over Nippon Ham.

Orix southpaw Koo Dae Sung held Nippon Ham scoreless on four hits over seven innings while the Fighters’ Satoru Kanemura blanked the BlueWave on three hits over eight innings.

Naoyuki Tateishi (0-2), who walked Shindo to start the ninth, took the loss while Kazuo Yamaguchi (2-2) was credited with the win after a perfect eighth.


Giants 11, Tigers 8

At Koshien Stadium, Yomiuri rallied for six runs in the eighth inning for the second time in less than a month to beat Hanshin.

Masumi Kuwata (3-4) went only five innings, but benefited from the Giants’ 15-hit attack for his first win since May 3 as Yomiuri moved to within percentage points of the lead in the Central League standings.

Hanshin, which has gone 20-9 on the road with one tie, fell to its 15th loss at home against only 12 wins.

The Tigers also gave up six runs in the eighth inning to the Giants on May 21 and fell 6-3.

Swallows 2, BayStars 1

Rookie Masanori Ishikawa pitched a four-hitter over six innings and Akinori Iwamura slammed a two-run homer in the second inning to lift Yakult over Yokohama.

Ishikawa (4-4) allowed one run while striking out five and walking two at Yamagata prefectural stadium and Shingo Takatsu worked the ninth for his 15th save as Yakult snapped Yokohama’s four-game winning streak.

Dragons 3, Carp 2

In Hiroshima, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami doubled home a run in the top of the 10th inning and Eddie Gaillard was untouchable in the bottom-half of the frame as Chunichi beat Hiroshima.

Kosuke Fukudome and Leo Gomez had back-to-back hits in the 10th to set up Tatsunami’s go-ahead double. The Carp had tied the game on Koichi Ogata’s one-run homer in the eighth.

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