Hanshin right-hander Hideki Irabu held Yakult scoreless over seven innings, striking out 10 batters for the win as the Central League-leading Tigers defeated the Swallows 4-1 at Koshiien Stadium on Tuesday, lowering their magic number to 39.

Irabu (10-2) gave up six hits and walked four.

Makoto Imaoka smashed a solo homer to lead off the third inning off Yakult starter Hideki Sato (4-4). The Tigers then loaded the bases before George Arias singled home two runs for a 3-0 lead.

Hanshin added a run in the fifth on Akihiro Yano’s RBI single.

Carp 3, Giants 1 (10)

Koichi Ogata belted a two-run go-ahead dinger off Yasuyuki Kawamoto (1-2) in the top of the 10th as Hiroshima beat Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome, snapping its losing streak against the Giants at five.

Shinji Sasaoka (5-6) pitched five-hit ball over nine innings for the win, while rookie Katsuhiro Nagakawa worked the 10th for his 14th save.

Dragons 6, BayStars 1

Shinya Okamoto (2-1) combined with three relievers on a five-hitter as Chunichi beat Yokohama at Nagoya Dome, sending the BayStars to their fourth loss in a row.

Hirokazu Ibata and Kosuke Fukudome belted back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning off Yokohama starter Yuji Hata (0-1).


Hawks 6, Fighters 0

Kazumi Saito scattered four hits over eight innings to winning his 11th straight decision as Daiei blanked Nippon Ham at Fukuoka Dome.

Saito (13-2) struck out eight and walked five for his PL-leading 13th win of the season.

Marines 7, Buffaloes 3

Catcher Tomoya Satozaki went 3-for-4 to lead Lotte’s 15-hit offense and Yasuhiko Yabuta (3-2) pitched pitched 5-2/3 solid innings as the Marines beat Kintetsu at Chiba Marine Stadium for their third straight win.

Buffaloes slugger Tuffy Rhodes belted his PL-leading 31st homer in the sixth.

BlueWave 5, Lions 3

Masato Yoshii (2-5) limited Seibu to two runs over five innings for the win as Orix downed the Lions at Seibu Dome.

Tatsuya Shindo and Jose Ortiz each hit solo homers for the BlueWave.

Dragons cut Gaillard

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Chunichi Dragons have released Eddie Gaillard and placed the right-hander on waivers, club officials said Tuesday.

Gaillard, removed from the active roster due to injuries to his right hand, asked Chunichi team manager Hisashi Yamada and general manager Kazumasa Ito on Monday to move him back to the top team. But his request was denied.

Chunichi has put Gaillard, who said that he would not play for a minor league team, on waivers until Monday and the Yokohama BayStars are considering acquiring the services of the 32-year-old.

“(Gaillard) has played his part (for Chunichi). If he wants to play for another team then the earlier he leaves the better,” Ito said.

Twice named the top relief pitcher of the year, Gaillard racked up 112 saves over four seasons with the Dragons and has a 2-2 record with 14 saves and a 5.09 ERA in 23 games this year.

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