Seibu slugger Alex Cabrera’s Japanese single-season home-run record challenge has been carried over to his team’s last game of the season after the big Venezuelan went homerless in the Lions’ 6-2 win over the Orix BlueWave at Green Stadium Kobe on Thursday night.

Cabrera had his chances as Orix pitchers challenged him in all five of his at-bats in the game. But A-Cab flied out to right in the first and the third innings, fanned in the fifth and hit a single to left in the seventh before striking out again in the ninth.

Cabrera remains on 55 home runs, tied for the single-season record with Tuffy Rhodes and Sadaharu Oh. Seibu will play the Marines in Chiba on Monday.

Ken Suzuki belted a three-run homer off Hisashi Ogura (7-4) to break a 1-1 tie in the four-run second.

Seibu starter Hsu Ming-chien gave up one run on three hits, walked three and struck out three over five innings to earn his ninth win.

Marines 8, Buffaloes 4
Hiromi Oho, Lotte’s fifth pick in the 1998 draft, marked his first career RBI with a tie-breaking double in the sixth inning as the Marines beat Kintetsu at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Kazuya Fukuura doubled in two runs and Derrick May singled in a game-tying run in the fifth.

Kintetsu starter Jeremy Powell (17-10) was ejected from the game for violent conduct in a seventh-inning skirmish, which broke out after one of his pitches hit Kiyoshi Hatsushika.


Tigers 7, Dragons 0
George Arias drove in three runs with two homers, improving his home-run tally to 32, to highlight Hanshin’s win over Chunichi at Koshien Stadium.

Hanshin hurler Keiichi Yabu (10-6) gave up five hits over the distance for his second shutout this season.

Drags to drop Taiho

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Chunichi Dragons infielder Yasuaki Taiho will be taken off the active roster for next season and will likely be pushed into retirement, officials of the CL club said Thursday.

Taiho, 38, has expressed a desire to stay with the club but will probably have to call an end to his career since the club is not likely to ask him back next season.

Cho to head home

Struggling to return to top form, Giants right-handed pitcher Cho Sung Min of South Korea said before Thursday’s game at the Tokyo Dome that he will not return to the team next year, even with a year left on his eight-year contract.

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