• The Associated Press


Alex Cabrera connected for a pair of homers to lead the second-place Seibu Lions to a 13-9 win over the Orix BlueWave at Yahoo BB Stadium on Wednesday.

Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and added a solo homer in the sixth.

Cabrera now leads the league with 49 homers, one more than Tuffy Rhodes of the Kintetsu Buffaloes.

Seibu closer Kiyoshi Toyoda equaled his own Pacific League record by picking up a 38th save.

The Lions are three games behind the league-leading Hawks, who cut their magic number to eight by beating Kintetsu.

Hawks 12, Buffaloes 4

At Osaka Dome, Nobuhiko Matsunaka belted a three-run homer in the second inning to power front-running Daiei past Kintetsu.

Marines 12, Fighters 5

At Tokyo Dome, Saburo Omura hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the top of the ninth as Lotte beat Nippon Ham.


Giants 5, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Akira Eto, Roberto Petagine and Tomohiro Nioka all homered as Yomiuri snapped a nine-game losing streak.

Carp 3 Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, Chris Brock gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings and belted a solo homer in the fifth inning to lead Hiroshima over Central League champion Hanshin. Brock improved to 8-6.

BayStars 6, Swallows 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Shuichi Murata belted a three-run homer to deep left field in the fifth inning to power Yokohama to a win over Yakult.

Lions sack Ihara

Veteran catcher Tsutomu Ito will retire as a player of the Seibu Lions and take the helm as manager for the Pacific League club starting next season after Haruki Ihara steps down from the post, baseball sources said Wednesday.

Ihara will leave the Lions, currently second to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in the league standings, even if the Saitama Prefecture-based team wins the championship as team officials have decided to file a formal request to Ito at the end of the season.

Tigers rule the farm

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) The minor league affiliate of the Hanshin Tigers won the second-half championship in the Western League on Wednesday, two days after the top team won its first pennant in 18 years in the Central League.

In the Western League, which divided the season into two halves beginning this season, the Tigers beat the first-half winners Hiroshima Carp 9-5 at Naruohama Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture.

Abe to miss tourney

Yomiuri Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, will not be named to the national team for next month’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Sapporo, game organizers said Wednesday after a staff meeting.

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