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Hideki Irabu gave up two-run homers to Andy Sheets and Takahiro Arai and the front-running Hanshin Tigers dropped three games in a row for the first time this season in a 5-1 defeat to the Hiroshima Carp in a Central League thriller on Saturday.

The Tigers wasted a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the ninth when Tomoaki Kanemoto and Atsushi Kataoka struck out against Tom Davey. Irabu (11-4) was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Carp starter Shinji Sasaoka (6-6) won his third straight decision after scattering three hits through six innings, and Davey followed with three shutout frames for his first save in Japan.

A capacity crowd of 32,000 showed up in Hiroshima for the first time this season. The game sold out on Saturday despite a typhoon, which caused three other games to be rained out.

According to Hiroshima officials, 23,697 tickets were purchased through advanced sales by Friday, when the opener of the three-game night series was postponed due to rain, and tickets that were available at the stadium on the day sold out by 2 p.m.

Nearly 3,000 fans braved the elements in a line that stretched 700 meters from the outfield gate before they were allowed into the stadium.

Hiroshima officials decided to increase the number of security personnel from 40 to 80 and mobilized 20 police officers to stand by instead of the initially scheduled six.

Giants 3, Swallows 2

At Tokyo Dome, Koji Uehara (10-3) posted double-digit wins for the third year in a row as Yomiuri beat Yakult in the league’s shortest game this season at two hours, 15 minutes.

Dragons at BayStars — ppd.

PACIFIC LEAGUE
Buffaloes 7, BlueWave 4

At Yahoo BB Stadium, Tuffy Rhodes and Yuji Yoshioka hit two solo home runs apiece, three of them off Koo Dae Sung (6-7), as Kintetsu produced 16 hits to outslug Orix in a game at Yahoo BB Stadium featuring a total of eight home runs.

Hawks at Fighters — ppd.
Lions at Marines — ppd.

Hiroshima heroes

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Hiroki Uemoto led off the first inning with a solo homer and Kentaro Nishimura struck out 11 as the spring invitational winner Koryo of Hiroshima Prefecture whitewashed Tokaidai Kofu of Yamanashi Prefecture 3-0 in the national high school baseball tournament Saturday.

In the day’s only other first-round game at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture, Kurashiki Kogyo of Okayama Prefecture downed Komadai Tomakomai of South Hokkaido 5-2.

Kurashiki opened the scoring in the second inning on Kosuke Nishino’s timely single to center while Daisuke Suyama held Komadai’s offense to two runs.

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