• Kyodo


Rookie right-hander Hiroshi Kisanuki struck out 10 over the distance and Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Tomohiro Nioka each hit solo homers to power the Yomiuri Giants to a 4-1 win over the Yokohama BayStars, snapping their three-game losing skid in the Central League on Saturday.

Kisanuki (4-2) scattered seven hits and missed his career first complete-game shutout after allowing an RBI single to Takanori Suzuki in the eighth. Kiyohara led off the fifth with his eighth homer followed by Takayuki Saito’s triple and a Koji Goto RBI double at Yokohama Stadium. Yokohama failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the second.

Swallows 2, Tigers 0

At Jingu Stadium, Alex Ramirez hit a two-run drive off Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (2-2) to break a scoreless deadlock in the sixth inning, lifting Yakult past front-running Hanshin.

Ramirez belted homer No. 17 for his second blast in as many games and helped make a winner of Hideki Sato (4-0), who pitched a four-hitter over seven solid innings.

Shingo Takatsu got his 15th save and tied former Yokohama BayStars closer Kazuhiro Sasaki with 269 career save points — saves plus wins in relief.

Dragons 7, Carp 0

At Nagoya Dome, pinch hitter Omar Linares, promoted the same day from the minors, hit a three-run homer to cap the scoring in the eighth inning and Ivan Cruz and Masahiko Morino drove in two runs apiece with two outs in the first as the Chunichi Dragons blanked the Hiroshima Carp 7-0.

Kazuhiro Hiramatsu tossed two-hit ball over six-plus sharp innings and posted his first win since moving to the Dragons in April 2001. Hiroshima suffered its second shutout defeat of the season.


Buffaloes 7, Lions 6

In the Pacific League, Koichi Isobe lined a “sayonara” homer off Shuichiro Osada (4-2) in the 11th inning as Kintetsu generated 13 hits to edge Seibu.

Isobe drove in a combined three runs on the solo shot and a two-run single in a five-run first inning before an Alex Cabrera grand slam in the third tied the contest 5-all.

Akira Okamoto (1-2), the sixth of the Daiei pitchers, retired the side in order in the 11th for the win.

Marines 6, BlueWave 5

At Yahoo BB Stadium in Kobe, Koichi Hori tied the game on a bases-loaded RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning and Takashi Tachikawa singled off Jun Hagiwara (1-2) for the game winner as Lotte beat Orix.

Hiroshi Tobe (1-0) posted his career first win in only his fourth mound appearance this season after pitching a hitless eighth and making way for Masahide Kobayashi, who closed out the ninth for his league-leading 14th save.

Hawks ink infielder

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks agreed to a provisional contract with Triple-A Pawtucket infielder Julio Zuleta and are expecting the 28-year-old in Japan before the All-Star break, Daiei official Takeshi Kotsuka said Saturday.

Zuleta, who is from Panama, played for the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and 2001 and has a .247 average with 36 RBIs and nine homers in 79 major league games. He had been assigned to the minor league camp of the Boston Red Sox on March 22.

The Pacific League club is hoping he will fill the void left by Hiroki Kokubo, who will likely miss the entire season because of a knee injury sustained during a preseason game.

Kokubo, who had been rehabilitating in the United States since April, will come back to Japan next Wednesday, club officials said.

Linares promoted

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Cuban slugger Omar Linares, who has been playing on the Chunichi Dragons’ minor league squad since the start of the season, was promoted to the top team’s roster Saturday, club officials said.

Linares, who lost 11 kg since suffering a knee injury in spring training, went 5-for-11 with one home run and three RBIs in his last three minor league games.

He was a key player in the Cuban national team that won two Olympic gold medals in the 1990s. He joined Chunichi last July on a short-term contract through the end of the 2002 season.

Linares finished last year with a .174 average (8-for-46) with one homer and five RBIs in 16 games, but was asked to return to the team for the 2003 season.

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