Shinjiro Hiyama led off the bottom of the ninth with a “sayonara” homer off BayStars starter Chris Holt (1-2) as the Hanshin Tigers edged Yokohama 3-2 at Koshien Stadium on Friday, sending the BayStars to their fourth straight loss.

With the win, coupled with the loss of the Dragons, the Tigers grabbed a share of the lead in the Central League standings with Chunichi.

Hanshin starter Hideki Irabu (3-0) went the distance on 132 pitches, scattering four hits while fanning 11 batters for the win in a tight two-hour, 20-minute pitching duel against Holt.

Holt allowed three runs on seven hits over eight-plus innings in taking the loss.

Giants 5, Dragons 3

Koji Goto and Tomohiro Nioka solo homered off Chunichi closer Akinori Otsuka (0-1) in a go-ahead two-run ninth as Yomiuri beat the Dragons at Nagoya Dome.

Swallows 9, Carp 3

Alex Ramirez went 3-for-5 and homered for the fifth consecutive game for his eighth dinger of the year as Yakult downed Hiroshima at Hiroshima Stadium.


Hawks 4, Buffaloes 2

Hayato Terahara (2-0) pitched the first complete game of his career, holding Kintetsu to four hits for the win as Daiei beat the Buffaloes at Fukuoka Dome.

Hawks catcher Kenji Jojima drove home all four runs on two homers — a three-run dinger in the fourth and a solo in the sixth — as Daiei won its fifth straight.

Both home runs were off Buffs hurler Jeremy Powell (2-2), who tossed a five-hitter while striking out eight in a losing effort.

Tuffy Rhodes hit a solo homer off Terahara in the seventh inning for his sixth homer of the season.

BlueWave 4, Marines 0

Masato Yoshii pitched a three-hit shutout — and did not let a runner past second — for his first win in Japan in six years to carry Orix over Lotte at Chiba Marine Stadium.

The Marines fell to their fourth straight loss and second straight shutout defeat.

Lions 10, Fighters 3

Alex Cabrera homered in consecutive at-bats and combined with Taketoshi Goto for six RBIs as Seibu beat Nippon Ham at Tokyo Dome.

Lions lefty Koji Mitsui (3-0) gave up three runs on eight hits and walked seven batters but held on for the win.

Fighters hurler Itsuki Shoda (1-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits, including home runs to Cabrera and Kazuo Matsui — a solo clout in the third.

No surgery for Motoki

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yomiuri Giants infielder Daisuke Motoki will not require surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder he suffered in a collision with teammate Toshihisa Nishi during Sunday’s game, the Central League team said Thursday.

Team officials said Motoki, who was hospitalized after being carried away on a stretcher, will aim to return to the team within two months of having his collarbone reset.

He has been removed from the active roster. Nishi only sustained bruises to his chest and twisted his right ankle.

.5 Schedules announced

OSAKA (Kyodo) The 85th high school baseball national championship tournament will get under way on Aug. 7 with 49 schools participating in the 15-day annual summer classic, organizers said Friday.

The draw for the games at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, will be determined Aug. 4 with the quarterfinals to be played on two separate days to prevent pitchers from having to throw four straight days from the third round to the final.

Meanwhile, the Japan High School Baseball Federation said it will go ahead with its plan to invite a Taiwan high school team for an exhibition series in mid-June despite recent overseas trips among athletes being canceled due to the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The federation also said 26 Japanese, including 18 players, will be sent to Hawaii, where high school students from the Chugoku region will play five games against local schools on Aug. 13-22.

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