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Hanshin lefty Kei Igawa pitched the distance to notch his 15th win of the year as the Tigers defeated the Giants 5-1 at Tokyo Dome on Saturday.

News photoJulio Zuleta of the Hawks ends up with the catcher’s mask in his hands while
sliding home safely past Kintetsu catcher Akihito Fujii during Saturday’s game at Osaka Dome. Daiei
beat the Buffaloes 7-3.

With their 70th win of the year, the Tigers posted the first winning season in 11 years.

It is also the first time in 18 years that the Tigers have secured a winning record against Yomiuri.

CL wins leader Igawa (15-4) allowed three hits while striking out seven in going the distance on 135 pitches. He walked one batter and gave up a run on a solo homer to Roberto Petagine in the seventh — his 20th clout of the season.

Igawa now leads the CL pitchers with a 2.73 ERA.

Tomoaki Kanemoto, who went 4-for-4, singled home a run in the first inning off Yomiuri rookie Hiroshi Kisanuki (8-4).

In the third, the Tigers scored three runs on two RBI singles and a wild pitch by Kisanuki.

Swallows 3, Dragons 2

Pinch hitter Shinichi Sato singled home two runs in the top of the ninth for the go-ahead runs as Yakult came from behind to beat Chunichi at Nagoya Dome.

Down 2-1 in the ninth with two out, Atsuya Furuta — who hit a solo homer in the seventh — and Ken Suzuki hit back-to-back singles. Sato then drove Dragons reliever Akinori Otsuka’s first pitch into right-center field to bring home two runs.

Swallows lefty Hirotoshi Ishii (4-1) pitched one inning for the win, and closer Shingo Takatsu worked the ninth for his 24th save.

BayStars at Carp — late

PACIFIC LEAGUE
Hawks 7, Buffaloes 3

Kenji Jojima went 4-for-5 to lead Daiei’s 15-hit offense as the PL-leading Hawks beat Kintetsu at Osaka Dome.

The Buffaloes, currently in third place behind the second-place Lions, are now 7 1/2 games behind Daiei.

Brandon Knight (4-3) gave up one run on six hits over five innings and picked up his first win since May 21.

Lions 17, BlueWave 4

Scott McClain had four hits and four RBIs and Kazuo Matsui drove home three runs as Seibu pounded out 20 hits to beat Orix at Yahoo BB Stadium.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (14-4) gave up four runs on eight hits — including three home runs — and struck out six over six innings for the win.

Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, the Lions sent 13 batters to the plate in a 10-run nine-hit outburst to take the lead.

Fighters at Marines — ppd.

Spring champ ousted

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Iwakuni High School of Yamaguchi Prefecture took advantage of a shaky outing by ace Kentaro Nishimura to come from behind to beat Koryo of Hiroshima 12-7 in the second round of the national high school baseball tournament on Saturday.

Trailing 7-4 in the seventh, Atsushi Tsuyama lined a bases-clearing triple as Iwakuni produced five runs in the frame to take a 9-7 lead over the spring invitational winners at Koshien Stadium. Nishimura gave up seven runs on 12 hits and walked five over 8 1/3 innings.

In other action, Yasuhiro Kuwazuru allowed just one run in the eighth inning of a complete game effort and cleanup hitter Takahiko Tanaka had a two-run single in the third as Aomori’s Kosei Gakuin beat first timers Kisarazu Sogo of Chiba 3-1.

Hiromitsu Suda singled to center to plate a pair of runs for the go-ahead on a fielding error in the fourth inning, lifting Okayama’s Kurashiki Kogyo to a 4-3 victory over Imabari Nishi of Ehime.

In the day’s final game, pinch hitter Masafumi Yamada came through with a two-out, tiebreaking single in the ninth inning, leading Fukui Shogyo of Fukui Prefecture to a 4-2 triumph over Osaka’s PL Gakuen.

‘Little Matsui’ watched

The Associated Press

The New York Yankees are keeping a close eye on Seibu Lions shortstop Kazuo Matsui, widely regarded as the next Japanese player who could make the transition to the major leagues.

John Cox, the Yankees’ director of Pacific Rim scouting, was in the stands on Friday as the Lions defeated the Orix BlueWave 7-4 in Kobe.

Matsui, who will officially become a free agent on Aug. 24, connected for his 23rd homer of the season — a game-tying solo shot in the top of the third.

Scouts from five major league teams, including the Boston Red Sox, have attended Seibu games this season.

The 28-year-old Matsui, known as “Little Matsui,” currently has a .294 batting average along with 126 hits and 53 RBIs for the second-place Lions.

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