Tomoaki Kanemoto went 3-for-4 and drove home four RBIs while starter Hideki Irabu pitched 6 2/3 innings to notch his 12th win as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers downed the Yomiuri Giants 6-4 at Koshien Stadium on Wednesday.

News photoHideki Irabu of the Tigers pitches against the Yomiuri Giants.

With the win, the Tigers — playing their first game at their home stadium since returning from their annual August road trip — lowered their magic number for winning the pennant to 16.

Kanemoto cracked a three-run homer in the first inning to give Hanshin a 3-2 lead, and added an RBI single in the fifth.

Irabu (12-6) was tagged for four runs on 10 hits but three relievers held the Giants scoreless the rest of the way as Irabu picked up his first win since Aug. 3.

Closer Jeff Williams pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.

With Hanshin leading 3-2 in the second, Irabu connected for an RBI single and the Tigers widened the lead with Kanemoto’s fifth-inning RBI single.

The Giants scored two runs in the seventh with solo homers by Takayuki Shimizu and Kazuhiro Kiyohara — both off Irabu — but Yutaka Nakamura tripled home a run in the eighth to add a run for the Tigers.

Dragons 6, Swallows 1

Lefty Masahiro Yamamoto fanned seven over 7 1/3 solid innings and connected for an RBI single to cap Chunichi’s four-run fifth as the Dragons beat Yakult at Jingu Stadium.

Yamamoto (8-4) scattered five hits and walked in winning his sixth straight decision. He lowered his ERA to a CL-leading 2.96.

Atsuya Furuta singled home the sole run for Yakult as it fell to fourth in the standings.

Carp 7, BayStars 2

Ken Takahashi walked none over the distance, holding Yokohama to two runs as Hiroshima won at Yokohama Stadium.

Takahashi (9-5) gave up nine hits and struck out three for his first win in two months.

Down 2-1 in the sixth, Hiroshima scored the game-tying run on an error before Tomonori Maeda and Takahiro Arai hit back-to-back RBI singles for the go-ahead runs. Takuya Kimura added a three-run blast in the seventh.


Hawks 9, Lions 5

Nobuhiko Matsunaka drove home five RBIs and Daiei tagged Seibu starter Daisuke Matsuzaka for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings as it downed the Lions at Seibu Dome to secure a winning record against the Lions for the first time in 22 seasons.

The win gave the PL-leading Hawks a magic number of 20.

Matsunaka drilled a three-run dinger in the first inning and singled home two run in a three-run fourth.

Daiei starter Kazumi Saito (18-2) gave up five runs over 6 1/3 innings but held on to win his 16th straight decision.

Matsuzaka (15-5) allowed seven runs on nine hits and walked three.

Lions slugger Alex Cabrera belted his 40th homer of the year — a two-run clout in the first inning.

Fighters 6, BlueWave 1

Makoto Kaneko went 4-for-5 and Satoru Kanemura pitched eight solid innings as Nippon Ham handed Orix its 70th loss of the year with a win at Yahoo BB Stadium.

Kanemura (9-6) allowed one run on five hits while fanning eight over eight innings.

PL batting leader Michihiro Ogasawara went 2-for-3 and improved to .372.

Marines 9, Buffaloes 8

Masato Watanabe and Jose Fernandez homered apiece and had two RBIs each as Lotte edged Kintetsu at Chiba Marine Stadium.

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