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Pedro Valdes went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer as the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Daiei Hawks overpowered the last place Orix BlueWave 9-4 on Monday, reducing their “magic number” for clinching the pennant to 29.

Valdes connected on Hidetaka Kawagoe’s first pitch into the right-field stands in the fifth inning, his first homer in 15 games.

Daiei starter Toshiya Sugiuchi (6-7) scattered three hits and two walks in five innings while striking out six to notch his third straight win.

Nobuhiko Matsunaka went deep in the third for his 20th homer of the season, and Valdes’ three-run shot put Daiei ahead at 7-2.

Orix suffered its sixth straight defeat.

Buffaloes 19, Fighters 6

Norihiro Nakamura and Koichi Isobe each belted a three-run homer as Kintetsu collected 26 hits to drive in 19 runs and beat Nippon Ham at Sapporo Dome.

Kataoka off roster

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin infielder Atsushi Kataoka was removed from the Tigers’ active roster Monday due to a right-thigh injury he sustained in last Friday’s game against the Yomiuri Giants, team officials said.

The 34-year-old infielder was sidelined midway through the game after hurting the back of the thigh.

Heian edges Meitoku

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Takuya Nishimura hit a go-ahead RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning as Heian of Kyoto Prefecture edged out defending champion Meitoku Gijuku of Kochi Prefecture 2-1 in the second round of the national high school baseball tournament on Monday.

In the day’s second game at Koshien Stadium, Takayuki Yokota cracked a bases-loaded, two-run single after two outs in the sixth, leading Tohoku of Miyagi Prefecture to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Ohmi of Shiga Prefecture.

In the third game, Jin Takitani’s wild throw to first with runners on second and third in the fifth helped give Joso Gakuin of Ibaraki Prefecture a 6-3 win over Chiben Wakayama of Wakayama Prefecture.

In the day’s final game, Shinji Ichinomiya hit a go-ahead double in the ninth as Shizuoka of Shizuoka Prefecture beat Yazu of Tottori Prefecture 3-2.

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