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Akihiro Yano drove in a pair of runs and rookie Tomoyuki Kubota went 7 2/3 solid innings Saturday as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers cruised to a 9-3 win over the Yakult Swallows.

News photoHanshin tigers catcher Akihiro Yano hits a solo home
run to the left-center field bleachers off Yakult Swallows reliever Hideki Sato in the fourth inning Saturday at Koshien
Stadium. The Tigers won 9-3.

Yano gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead at Koshien Stadium with a solo homer off Yakult reliever Hideki Sato in the bottom of the fourth and then drove in another run in the fifth when Hanshin scored four runs to take an 8-1 lead.

Kubota struck out 11 and gave up three runs on nine hits to improve to 5-5.

Kenichiro Hayakawa, who also homered in Friday’s 8-0 win over Yakult, belted a solo homer in the bottom of the second when the Tigers took a 3-0 lead.

With the victory, the Tigers’ magic number to clinch the Central League pennant was reduced to 12.

BayStars 6, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Tyrone Woods belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Tatsuhiko Kinjo added a solo shot in the sixth to lead Yokohama over Chunichi.

Woods now has 30 homers and is tied with Alex Ramirez of the Yakult Swallows for the league lead.

Giants at Carp — ppd.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka Dome, starter Carlos Mirabal went the distance as Nippon Ham downed Kintetsu.

Mirabal improved to 15-8 for the season after striking out six and giving up five hits at Osaka Dome.

Kensuke Tanaka went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs — including a two-run homer — as the Fighters scored four runs in the second inning to take an early lead.

It was Tanaka’s first homer of the season.

Tatsuya Ide helped by driving in a pair of runs for the Fighters.

Kintetsu starter Ken Kadokura was tagged for four runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings to take the loss.

Hawks 6, Marines 3

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Nobuhiko Matsunaka doubled in a pair of runs as front-running Daiei scored four runs in the third inning on its way to beating Lotte.

Daiei starter Toshiya Sugiuchi improved to 8-7 after holding the Marines to two runs on six hits over seven innings.

With the victory, the Hawks remained six games ahead of the Seibu Lions in the Pacific League standings.

Lions 2, BlueWave 1

At Seibu Dome, Hiroyuki Nakajima drove in the winning run with a clutch single to left in the seventh inning to lift Seibu over Orix.

Seibu starter Hsu Ming-chie picked up the win after giving up one run on nine hits over seven innings.

Kiyoshi Toyoda retired the side in the ninth for his 34th save.

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