Akinori Iwamura hit a grand slam off Hideki Irabu to spark a seven-run outburst in the fifth inning as the second-place Yakult Swallows came from behind to crush the front-running Hanshin Tigers 10-3 in the Central League on Tuesday night.

News photoKintetsu’s Tuffy Rhodes follows the flight of his 45th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth inning.

Despite the loss, the magic number for Hanshin to clinch the CL pennant dropped to four by virtue of Hiroshima’s loss to Chunichi.

Iwamura connected for his only hit with two out at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium after Alex Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning for his league-high 33rd homer.

Dragons 3, Carp 0

At Shimanami Stadium in Hiroshima Prefecture, 1994 top draft pick Masafumi Hirai pitched his first career shutout and snapped Chunichi’s five-game losing skid, yielding just three hits in a win over Hiroshima.

BayStars 8, Giants 4

At Yokohama Stadium, Shuichi Murata hit a two-run double to cap a four-run seventh as Yokohama beat Yomiuri.


Hawks 3, Buffaloes 2

At Fukuoka Dome, Brandon Knight scattered 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings as Fukuoka Daiei edged Kintetsu.

With the win, and Seibu’s loss to Chiba Lotte, Daiei cut its magic number for clinching the PL flag to 12.

Marines 14, Lions 13

At Seibu Dome, Kazuo Matsui went 5-for-5 with five RBIs, but Chiba Lotte edged Seibu in a 34-hit slugfest featuring eight home runs.

BlueWave 8, Fighters 4

At Tokyo Dome, Koichi Oshima singled in the go-ahead run to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning as Orix downed Nippon Ham.

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