Mototsugu Kawanaka led off the bottom of the 11th with his career first home run to give the Yomiuri Giants a 5-4 “sayonara” victory over the Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday.

The win, coupled with the loss of the second-place Swallows, slashed CL leader Yomiuri’s magic number to 11.

The Giants led 4-0 before Hanshin cut the lead to two with Shinjiro Hiyama’s two-run homer in the sixth.

In the seventh, Katsumi Hirosawa pinch hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 and the Tigers tied the game in the eighth with Atsushi Kataoka’s solo blast off Giants reliever Hideki Okajima.

BayStars 3, Swallows 1

Left-hander Yuji Yoshimi (9-6) scattered six hits over the distance, limiting Yakult to one run on a homer by Atsuya Furuta, as Yokohama beat Yakult at Yokohama Stadium.

Carp 6, Dragons 5

Kazuyoshi Kimura’s fifth homer of the year put Hiroshima ahead in the eighth inning as the Carp edged Chunichi in a seesaw battle at Hiroshima Stadium.

Hiroshima starter Masayuki Hasegawa (12-6) went the distance on 133 pitches, allowing three earned runs on nine hits in his fifth complete game of the year.


Buffaloes 4, Lions 0

Norihiro Nakamura and Yuji Yoshioka each hit homers to propel Kintetsu over Seibu at the Osaka Dome.

Both home runs were off Seibu starter Hsu Ming-chieh (6-6) who allowed four runs on seven hits over three innings.

Buffaloes starter Hiroshi Takamura (8-7) combined with two relievers on a six-hitter.

BlueWave 4, Fighters 1

Yuki Tanaka (4-1) allowed one run on seven hits over 8 1/3 innings and closer Jun Hagiwara worked the final two-thirds of an inning for his eighth save to help Orix over Nippon Ham at Green Stadium Kobe.

Marines 3, Hawks 2

Nathan Minchey (12-13) held Daiei to two runs over 7 1/3 innings for the win and closer Masahide Kobayashi worked the final inning and notched 29th save to extend his Japanese Pro Ball record consecutive “save point” (total number of saves and wins in relief) to 25 as Lotte won at the Fukuoka Dome.

Cabrera to stay a Lion

Seibu Lions slugger Alex Cabrera will stay on with the Pacific League club for a third season, club officials said Saturday.

In meeting with agent Allen Nero, the 31-year-old Venezuelan native agreed to a one-year extension of his contract with the PL-leading Lions for an annual salary of 280 million yen, plus performance incentives.

Cabrera, who was second in the league last season with 49 home runs, leads the PL with 51 homers this season and is on course to break the single-season record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched last year by Tuffy Rhodes.

He also tops the league with 109 RBIs and is second with a .333 batting average.

Hawks release Pedraza

The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks released right-hander Brady Raggio and All-Star reliever Rodney Pedraza on Friday, sources at the club told The Japan Times.

Pedraza, the Pacific League leader in saves in 2000 and 2001, had compiled a 3.30 ERA with 21 saves this season while battling a hamstring injury.

Raggio, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, has won 23 games against 17 losses in his three years with the Hawks. He was 6-5 with a 5.44 ERA this season.

Buffs look to China

OSAKA — The Kintetsu Buffaloes are negotiating with a Chinese baseball club on a business agreement in a bid to promote sports and cultural exchanges, officials of the Osaka team said Friday.

Kintetsu, the first Japanese professional baseball club to make such a move, selected the Shanghai Golden Eagles for a likely partner based on the sister-city relationship between Osaka and Shanghai.

“This idea was born of our wish to promote cultural exchanges with China via baseball. Osaka and China are both known as big commercial cities and they have had quite deep ties, historically,” Kintetsu owner Wa Tashiro said.

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