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Veteran catcher Atsuya Furuta hit a solo homer in the fourth inning Wednesday and added a three-run blast in the seventh as the Yakult Swallows downed the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers 7-3 at Jingu Stadium.

News photoNobuhiko Matsunaka of the Daiei Hawks
hits a two-run homer in the sixth inning at Fukuoka Dome.

Furuta tied the game in the fourth with his 15th homer of the season and Shinya Miyamoto drove in the winning run with a clutch single. Furuta’s three-run homer in the seventh off Keiichi Yabu put the game out of reach.

Yakult rookie pitcher Yuhei Takai picked up the win after holding the Tigers to three runs on four hits over six innings.

Hanshin starter Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi gave up four runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings to take the loss.

Hanshin outfielder Norihiro Akahoshi hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning. It was the only second roundtripper in his three-year career.

The Tigers’ magic number for their first CL pennant in 18 years stays at 29.

Dragons 8, Carp 3

In Nagoya, veteran lefty Mashiro Yamamoto gave up two runs while scattering six hits over 6 1/3 innings for the win as Chunichi downed Hiroshima.

Motonobu Tanishige drove in a pair of runs with a clutch double in the bottom of the fifth to lead the Chunichi attack.

Hiroshima starter Ken Takahashi suffered his third consecutive loss after seven straight victories.

BayStars 6, Giants 3

At Tokyo Dome, Tyrone Woods hit his league-leading 27th homer — a solo shot in the sixth — as Yokohama rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat Yomiuri.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks, 11 Lions 2

In Fukuoka, Kazumi Saito gave up two runs on four hits while striking out eight over eight innings for his league-leading 15th win as Daiei easily beat Seibu.

Julio Zuleta, formerly of the Chicago Cubs, hit a solo homer in the third inning and Nobuhiko Matsunaka connected for a two-run homer in the fifth to lead the Daiei attack.

Marines, 7 BlueWave 4

In Chiba, Jose Fernandez, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates, belted a two-run homer in the third inning off Mac Suzuki to power Lotte over Orix.

Nate Minchey, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, picked up the win after holding the BlueWave to three runs on 10 hits over six innings.

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