Alex Cabrera hit his 54th homer and Kazuo Matsui belted No. 36, but Nobuhiko Matsunaka had the final word with a solo shot in the eighth that lifted the Daiei Hawks to a 6-5 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday night at the Fukuoka Dome.

Cabrera’s blast off Akio Mizuta in the sixth inning was his first in six games and leaves him one homer shy of tying the Japanese record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants in 1964 and tied last season by the Kintetsu Buffaloes’ Tuffy Rhodes.

Daiei southpaw Shuji Yoshida (7-3) picked up the win after striking out four in 2 1/3 innings of work as the Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak.

Matsui’s homer and a double were his 84th and 85th extra-base hits of the season, tying the Japanese professional record for extra-base hits set in 1950 by Makoto Kozuru of the Shochiku Robins.

Marines 7, BlueWave 2

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Yukihiko Sato went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored and Makoto Kosaka hit his first homer of the season to pace Lotte over Orix.

Lotte workhorse Nate Minchey (14-13) struck out nine over eight innings of work to remain a step behind Kintetsu’s Jeremy Powell in the race for the league’s most victories crown.

Orix left-hander Tomoya Kawaguchi (0-1), in his fifth season out of Kyoto’s Heian High School, pitched only into the fifth inning in his first pro start and took the loss.

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 5

At the Osaka Dome, Nippon Ham erupted for six runs on five hits and a pair of walks in the fifth inning and held on to beat Kintetsu.

The Fighters’ Michihiro Ogasawara went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to raise his average to .335 and to hold onto a narrow lead in the PL batting race over Cabrera.


Dragons 4, Giants 3

Motonobu Tanishige hit a two-run homer and Hidenori Kuramoto doubled home two runs to lift Chunichi over Yomiuri at the Tokyo Dome.

Hideki Matsui, meanwhile, boosted his bid for a triple crown with an RBI single in three at-bats to lift his batting average to .338 while nearest challenger Kosuke Fukudome went hitless in four plate appearances to see his average slip to .335.

BayStars 7, Tigers 4

At Yokohama Stadium, second-year southpaw Yuji Yoshimi (10-6) gave up 14 hits over six-plus innings but limited the damage to only four runs as Yokohama beat Hanshin.

Swallows at Carp — ppd.

Yamashita is ready

Former Yokohama BayStars coach and baseball commentator Daisuke Yamashita appears ready to take the helm for the foundering team next season after a meeting with club officials in Tokyo on Friday.

Yamashita met with Yokohama general manager Yoshio Noguchi at a Tokyo hotel a day after manager Masaaki Mori announced his resignation.

Yamashita called the offer to manage the BayStars an “honor,” but withheld giving an answer, saying instead that he would think about it.

Yamashita, 50, has been named as a coach for the Japanese national baseball team for the Asian Games, getting under way in Pusan, South Korea, on Sunday.

Bolick released

CHIBA (Kyodo) The Lotte Marines said Friday the Pacific League club will release infielder Frank Bolick at the end of the season.

Bolick, 36, has played for Lotte since 1999 and named to the league’s season-ending “Best Nine” all-star team as designated hitter in 2001. He has hit .204 with six homers this season.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.