• The Associated Press


Hanshin Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino must feel comfortable with a commanding lead in the Central League standings.

Despite a 17 1/2-game lead, Hoshino made a glaring tactical error Sunday when he inexplicably pulled his outfielders in during the eighth inning of their game against the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

The second-place Giants scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth when routine fly balls sailed over the heads of drawn in Hanshin outfielders to hand Yomiuri a comfortable 6-1 victory.

Dragons 5, Swallows 0

In Nagoya, Kosuke Fukudome hit a pair of two-run homers to power Chunichi to a victory over Yakult.

Carp 3, BayStars 0

In Hiroshima, Hiroki Kuroda went the distance as the Carp blanked Yokohama.


Buffaloes 4, Hawks 4

In Osaka, Norihiro Nakamura and Yuji Yoshioka hit solo homers in back-to-back at-bats in the eighth inning and Eiji Mizuguchi followed with an RBI single off Takayuki Shinohara in a two-run ninth as Kintetsu and Daiei played to a tie.

The Hawks’ magic number to clinch the pennant stands at 30.

Fighters 5, Marines 2

In Chiba, designated hitter Kazuteru Shimada drove in a pair of runs as Nippon Ham downed Lotte at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Lions 8, BlueWave 2

In Kobe, Kazuhiro Wada belted a two-run homer in the first inning and added a solo blast in the eighth to lead Seibu to a win over Orix.

Abe deactivated

Yomiuri Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe was taken from the active roster Sunday after complaining of pain in his right shoulder, club officials said.

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