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Tomoaki Kanemoto belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to power the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers to a 5-4 victory over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium on Thursday.

With a sweep over the Carp, the Tigers won their fifth straight and maintained a seven-game lead over the second-place Yomiuri Giants in the Central League standings.

Hanshin first baseman George Arias connected for a two-run homer in the second inning and the Carp tied the game on a two-run blast by Koichi Ogata in the fifth before taking a one-run lead in the top of the eighth.

Hanshin reliever Shinji Taninaka picked up the win after coming on in the eighth and closer Jeff Williams picked up his 13th save after retiring the side in the ninth.

Giants 3, Swallows 1
In Fukuoka, pinch hitter Takayuki Shimizu drove in a pair of runs with a clutch double in the bottom of the eighth to lift Yomiuri to a win over Yakult.

Yomiuri rookie Yuya Kubo picked up the win after holding the Swallows to one run on seven hits over eight innings. Junichi Kawahara retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save.

Dragons 6, BayStars 1
In Yokohama, Koichi Sekikawa belted a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to lift Chunichi over the BayStars.

Tuffy suspended

Kintetsu Buffaloes slugger Tuffy Rhodes has been slapped with a two-game suspension for attacking Seibu Lions pitcher Hayato Aoki, Pacific League president Tadao Koike said Thursday.

Rhodes was apparently angered when Aoki hit Kintetsu teammate Norhiro Nakamura with a pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth inning of a game on Wednesday.

He was ejected when he shoved Aoki from behind, causing the right-handed reliever to sprain vertebrae in his neck. Aoki will require at least a week before the pain subsides, Seibu team officials said.

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